Insegnamento a.a. 2017-2018



Department of Social and Political Sciences

Course taught in English

Go to class group/s: 23
BIG (8 credits - II sem. - OB  |  6 credits SECS-P/06  |  2 credits SECS-S/01)
Course Director:

Classes: 23 (II sem.)

Course Objectives

The course introduces students to the main tools used for data analysis and applied empirical research, focusing in particular on the estimation of causal relationships. The methods covered allow students to address questions that are relevant from a social, economic, and political perspective: which are the economic returns of one additional year of schooling? Do democratic institutions promote economic development? Do longer prison sentences deter crimes? What are the economic costs of organized crime? What are the effects of immigration? These are just examples of the type of questions that motivate the use of empirical methods. At the end of the course, students should be able to go through the multiple stages of empirical research: searching for interesting questions, devising an appropriate research design, collecting the data, and implementing the analysis. Throughout the course, the craft of empirical design is discussed both during class lectures and during computer lab sessions, where sample datasets are analyzed with the use of the statistical software Stata.

Intended Learning Outcomes
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Course Content Summary

  • The linear model: OLS and IV.
  • Non-linear models: Probit, Logit, Tobit, Survival analysis.
  • The ideal experiment: Causal effects and the selection problem.
  • Randomized controlled trials.
  • Natural experiments.
  • Regression discontinuity designs.
  • Panel, difference-in-differences, and synthetic control models.

Teaching methods
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Assessment methods
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Detailed Description of Assessment Methods

Problem sets (30%), research proposal (10%), and final written exam (60%).


  • J. Angrist, J.S. Pischke, Mastering Metrics, Princeton University Press, 2014.
  • T. Dunning, Natural Experiments in Social Sciences, Cambridge University Press, 2012.
Exam textbooks & Online Articles (check availability at the Library)


Basic statistics and econometrics.
The exam code 30320 ‘Quantitative methods for social sciences - module 2 (Statistics)’ is a prerequisite of the exam code 30337 Policy evaluation
Last change 25/07/2017 10:33