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Empirical Methods for Public Policy Evaluation



Monica Martinez-Bravo (CEMFI)



7-11 September 2020



15:30 to 18:30 CET

Intended for


Researchers, economists, and policy practitioners.



Undergraduate degree in Economics, Statistics, or equivalent.



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.
Each lecture will consist of a description of the main methodology followed by a number of practical applications and discussion of empirical studies. In additional practical classes, applications of the different methodologies will be presented and academic papers will be replicated using Stata.



Randomized Evaluations: Introduction and Technical Aspects
Randomized Evaluations: Threats and Analysis
Non-experimental Methods: Control functions, Matching Estimators, DID
Non-experimental Methods: Regression Discontinuity Design and IV
Combining the Experimental Approach with Administrative Data

Sponsored by


Autoridad Independiente de Responsabilidad Fiscal (AIReF)


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.


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