2014 Training Course - Evaluation of Public Policies

Event Date
University of Pretoria - Pretoria, South Africa


The aim of the course is to introduce participants to recent methodological developments in the evaluation of public policies. These developments have shown that it is possible to circumvent most conceptual problems related to the evaluation of public policies under relatively innocuous assumptions. The importance of these developments has been underlined by the award of the Nobel Prize in Economics in 2000 to James Heckman and Daniel McFadden, the two main contributors to the field.

Applications for this course must be submitted by October 31, 2014.

Course Outline

The course will take place over three days. Each daily session is divided into two parts. The first part takes place in the morning and focuses on theoretical notions. Conceptual and methodological problems are presented and solutions that have been proposed to overcome them are discussed in details. The second part takes place in the afternoon and provides hands-on experience with computer software (Stata or R) and survey data. Afternoon sessions focus on the theoretical models presented in the morning sessions.

Day I

  1. The Fundamental Problem:
    • Determination of the control group
    • Selection bias
    • Attrition bias
    • Social experimentation as a solution
    • Empirical examples
  2. Proposed solutions
    • Before-After estimators
    • Difference-in-differences estimator
    • Cross-sectional estimators
    • Two-step Heckman estimator
    • Instrumental variables estimators
  3. Lab work

Day II

  1. Propensity score matching estimators
    • Propensity score
    • Nearest-neighbour
    • Radius matching
    • Kernel matching
    • Difference-in-differences kernel matching
  2. Lab work


  1. Regression Discontinuity
    • What it's all about....
    • Fuzzy Design versus Sharp Design
    • Examples
  2. Ex Ante Evaluation (time allowing)
    • Detailed presentation
    • Examples from health economics
  3. Lab work

Online Application

In order to apply for this course, AGRODEP members must complete the following by October 31, 2014:

Please note that AGRODEP requires members to have a CV and Google Scholar link displayed on their AGRODEP profile before participating in AGRODEP events.


Guy Lacroix has a PhD in economics from Laval University, completed postdoctoral studies at Princeton University, and is full professor in the Department of Economics at Laval University. He specializes in labour economics, applied econometrics and the economics of health. His research work looks at the relationships between income security policy and individuals' behaviour on the labour market. He has published papers in The Journal of Political Economy, The Economic Journal, The Journal of Public Economics, the Journal of Health Economics, etc., as well as numerous reports for provincial and federal departments. He is the President of the micro analysis group of the Partnership for Economic Policy (PEP).