CEMFI Summer School

Empirical Methods for Public Policy Evaluation


30 August - 3 September 2021


15:30 to 18:30 CEST



Intended for

Researchers, economists, and policy practitioners.


Some basic knowledge of probability or statistics is expected. Individuals with undergraduate degrees in economics, statistics, or related disciplines should be able to follow the course. The emphasis will be in applications and practical aspects rather than on developing new methodologies.


This course provides a practical introduction to the main tools used for policy evaluation. The cornerstone methodology of the course will be Randomized Control Trials. We will describe the advantages of experimental methodologies to uncover the causal effect of policies. We will discuss technical aspects such as sample size, design of treatment arms, and data analysis. We will also discuss threats to identification and issues of external validity. In a second part of the course, we will discuss non-experimental methods for policy evaluation, such as control functions, matching estimators, regression discontinuity design and difference-in-differences estimators. We will discuss how these methodologies can approximate randomized control trials in exploiting quasi-experimental variation. In a final section we will discuss the complementarities between the use of administrative data and randomized control trials.


Introduction to Impact Evaluations
Randomized Control Trials in Detail
Non-Experimental Methods: Control functions, Matching Estimators, DID
Non-Experimental Methods: Regression discontinuity and IV
Combining the Experimental Approach with Administrative Data

Monica Martinez-Bravo is an Associate Professor at CEMFI. She received her Ph.D. in Economics from MIT in 2010. Her PhD supervisors were Daron Acemoglu, Abhijit Banerjee and Benjamin Olken. Before moving to CEMFI, she was Assistant Professor at Johns Hopkins University. She was also Visiting Associate Professor at MIT during the year 2019-2020. She is an Affiliate of the Bureau for Research and Economic Analysis of Development (BREAD), the International Growth Center (IGC), and the Center for Economic Policy Research (CEPR). She is also a member of the Editorial Board of the Review of Economic Studies.
Her research interests are in the fields of development economics and political economy. She has studied the effects of the education of politicians on public good provision and the effects of incentives of government officials on quality of governance. Monica’s research has been published in the American Economic Review, Econometrica, and American Economic Journal: Applied Economics