UCL Department of Economics


ECONG055 - Applied Policy Analysis


The overarching aim of this course is to provide students with experience of using economic analysis to answer real world (often complex) policy questions, from both a theoretical and practical perspective. The skills developed could be used to review existing policies and/or to formulate new policies. The course would be particularly useful for those interested in working in government or related institutions. The skills that will be developed will also be of interest for anyone thinking of working in applied research, consultancy or related fields. In the course we will consider four current policy areas. Each of the four topics will be presented by a different lecturer who has hands-on experience using economic theory and techniques to analyse the relevant issues in the real world.

By the end of the course students will have:

  1. Developed an in-depth knowledge of the economic models used to analyse four current policy areas and an understanding of how the models are used in practice to inform policy debates;
  2. Learned how to critically evaluate arguments made by others and developed an understanding of how to adapt or extend existing models and counter ideas;
  3. A wider appreciation of how to develop and use a range of economic frameworks (theory and empirical, micro and macro) to analyse policy questions;
  4. Developed an expertise in analysing, presenting and commenting on empirical evidence to inform policy debates;
  5. Honed their writing skills, particularly in relation to writing for a non-expert audience; and
  6. Practised presenting their ideas orally to others and developed their ability to think on their feet.

This mix of skills is consistent with the requirements of a broad mix of employers as
evidenced, for example, in the 2012 Economics Network survey of employability of
economics graduates. Experience on this course will also put students in very good standing when writing their MSc dissertations.

Taught by:
Cloda Jenkins
Assessment: Format: Ten 2-hour lectures and four 2-hour tutorial classes.  The course will be examined by 1) a 3000-word take home essay due at the start of Term 3 (50%) and 2) a 2-hour closed-book, written exam in Term 3 (50%).
Suitable for:
Graduate Students in the Economics department
Prerequisites: Enrolment on the MSc Economic Policy programme
Moodle page: ECONG055