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Course module: USEMEGC
Economics of Global Challenges
Course infoSchedule
Course codeUSEMEGC
ECTS Credits5
Category / LevelM (Master)
Course typeCourse
Language of instructionEnglish
Offered byFaculty of Law, Economics and Governance; Graduateschool REBO; Economics of Public Policy and Management;
Contact personprof. dr. J.J. de Laat
Contactperson for the course
prof. dr. J.J. de Laat
Other courses by this lecturer
Teaching period
3  (03/02/2020 to 19/04/2020)
Teaching period in which the course begins
Time slotC: MON-afternoon, TUE-afternoon,THU-morning
Study mode
Enrolment periodfrom 28/10/2019 up to and including 24/11/2019
Course application processadministratie onderwijsinstituut
Enrolling through OSIRISYes
Enrolment open to students taking subsidiary coursesNo
Waiting listNo
Please note the prerequisites for this course at the bottom of the course description.

Global challenges, like climate change, inequality, and poverty cannot be solved from the perspective of just one discipline. Increasingly, economists are engaging in multidisciplinary collaborations and integrating insights from other disciplines to inform research and offer policy advice. And, economists are increasingly using field experiments to test what works and why in real-life settings, often working directly with policy makers. In this course, economic theory meets practice around key challenges facing the globe today, with a focus on global poverty, skills, entrepreneurship, peace & recovery, and climate change, and a focus on lower and middle income countries.
Students will first learn about impact evaluation methods, going in-depth into designing randomised control trials (RCTs), and getting an overview of quasi-experimental methods (differences-in-differences, instrumental variables, and regression discontinuity design). Students will also learn about the growing role of impact evaluations in policy discussions around global challenges and the institutional challenges to affect policy in practice.
The course then covers sequentially selected global challenges, one per week. Each week starts with a macro-perspective: What is the global scale of these challenges, and how do these translate into regional differences? How can economic theory inform our understanding of these challenges? And, how are insights from other disciplines enriching our understanding? This macro perspective is then followed by a micro perspective: How can theory guide the design of policy and program interventions addressing these challenges? And, how are economists using field experiments, often in collaboration with scientists from other fields, to test policy and program effectiveness in practice, and to shed further light on the underlying mechanisms?

Learning objectives
At the end of the course the student is able to:
•         Synthesize insights from economic theory and other disciplines to inform our understanding of global challenges
•         Demonstrate an in-depth understanding of impact evaluation (IE) methods.
•         Apply knowledge of IE methods to design field experiments addressing global challenges.
•         Apply knowledge of IE methods to critically assess the IE literature.

Lectures and active class discussions based on lectures and assigned readings, including student presentations.
Assessment method
•         Midterm exam covering impact evaluation methods (40%, individual);
•         Presentation (20%, 2 people);
•         A paper laying out a detailed (funding) proposal for an impact evaluation by a multi-disciplinary research team (40%, individual).

Highly recommended entry knowledge: Empirical economics MSc Course.
In case online access is required for this course and you are not in the position to buy the access code, you are advised to contact the course coordinator for an alternative solution. Please note that access codes are not re-usable meaning that codes from second hand books do not work, as well as access codes from books with a different ISBN number. Separate or spare codes are usually not available.
Entry requirements
You must meet the following requirements
  • Enrolled for a degree programme of faculty Faculty of Law, Economics and Governance
Required materials
Reader with articles
Gertler, Paul J. et al. 2016. Impact Evaluation in Practice, Second Edition. Washington, DC: Inter-American Development Bank and World Bank.
Recommended materials
Rachel Glennerster and Kudzai Takavarasha. Running Randomized Evaluations: A Practical Guide (2013)
Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo. Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way to Fight Global Poverty
The econometric software package STATA, which is available in the computer rooms of U.S.E and also accessible through MyWorkplace.
Andrew Leigh. Randomistas: How Radical Researchers Are Changing Our World Hardcover (2018)
Collected texts
Instructional formats

Test weight40
Minimum grade1

Test weight40
Minimum grade1

Test weight20
Minimum grade1

Kies de Nederlandse taal