Course 2009-2010 a.y.



Department of Social and Political Sciences

Course taught in English

Go to class group/s: 31
MM-LS (6 credits - II sem. - AI) - AFC-LS (6 credits - II sem. - AI) - CLAPI-LS (6 credits - II sem. - AI) - CLEFIN-LS (6 credits - II sem. - AI) - CLELI-LS (6 credits - II sem. - AI) - DES-LS (6 credits - II sem. - AI) - CLG-LS (6 credits - II sem. - AI) - M-LS (6 credits - II sem. - AI) - IM-LS (6 credits - II sem. - AI) - ACME-LS (6 credits - II sem. - AI) - EMIT-LS (6 credits - II sem. - AI)
Course Director:

Classes: 31 (II sem.)

Course Objectives

Policies are at the heart of local and national government actions. Ex ante and ex post evaluations are increasingly needed in order to both estimate the impact of public interventions and identify best practices for policy design. Qualitative and quantitative methods are currently adopted by public bodies and researchers to provide policy makers with consistent information on policy outcomes.

With this framework in mind, the course aims to:

  • Make students familiar with the main tools of evaluation of projects and policies, as well as with strengths and weaknesses of both qualitative and quantitative methods;
  • Review and discuss several case studies of policy evaluation and project appraisal meant to provide a broad picture of current international practice;
  • Enable students to carry out autonomous evaluation research and practice by discussing projects and using common software packages.

Course Content Summary

The course integrates qualitative and quantitative methods to evaluate projects and programs, from the European Commission evaluation procedures to cost-benefit analysis and difference-in-differences approaches. It explores both theoretical and applicative issues by alternating formal lectures, case studies discussions and computer sessions.In particular, cases from health policy, local development and transport policy will be thoroughly discussed with the help of data and common software packages.

The course is organized into four parts:

  1. The logics of project and policy evaluation: qualitative vs quantitative methods. The case of European regional policy actions.
  2. Ex ante project and policy appraisal. Advanced Cost-Benefit Analysis and the prediction of policy outcomes. The case of transport project appraisal and health policy evaluation
  3. Ex post policy evaluation: Selection bias and the propensity score. The cases of health treatments and local development policy.
  4. Time matters: structural break detection and difference-in-differences. Discussion of cases on road safety measures in Italy (the "patente a punti"), the eradication of malaria and its effect on regional growth, Territorial Pacts and investment subsidies.

Detailed Description of Assessment Methods

  • A written exam with mid-term evaluation (optional) will consist into 70% of the final grade.
  • The remaining 30% will be given on the basis of a team project.


A course pack will be made available at the beginning of the course.
Exam textbooks & Online Articles (check availability at the Library)
Last change 09/06/2009 14:18