Ifo Center for the Economics of Education

Language Selection

Breadcrumb Navigation


Econometric Evaluation of Education Policies

! Please note:

The course "Econometric Evaluation of Education Policies" starts as scheduled on April 21, 2020, at 10.15 am. As long as necessary due to the Covid-19 situation, it will be conducted in online sessions instead of classroom meetings. From April 21 onwards, we will meet each Tuesday and Thursday from 10.15-11.45 am at "zoom" in a virtual meeting. All registered participants will receive an e-mail with the login details by April 20. If you are not registered yet, but would like to participate, please send an e-mail to Larissa Zierow (zierow@ifo.de) until April 20. Course material will be provided on this website.




Prof. Dr. Ludger Wößmann and Dr. Larissa Zierow


Online Course: Tuesdays and Thursdays 10-12 am

This reading-&-paper course is for advanced Master and Ph.D. students. The main part of the course is that each participant develops her/his own applied paper project, and the main course requirement is a term paper that should look like the first draft of a small empirical paper, plus a presentation.

The course is devised to ensure that participants learn about education policy, about evaluation methods, and about (the reality of) how to do applied research. At the same time, it tries to convey the enjoyment of doing economic research and requires participants to be creative and productive. Even though it is fun to do sound research, it also requires (a lot of) work; thus, participants are expected to work on the topic throughout the semester, not just in preparing an exam.

After introductory lectures on research methods for empirical identification and on selected topics in the economics of education, the main part of the course consists of sessions to discuss recent scientific papers that everyone has read in advance and of sessions where everybody presents and discusses his/her ideas for the paper project and practical problems that turn up while working on it. The main content of the meetings will be well-founded discussions of policy and of research strategies. The specific topics covered in the course will partly be endogenous to the interests expressed by participants.

Expected preconditions: Econometrics (Master level); Advanced knowledge and interest in applied econometrics; Experience in working with Stata; Willingness to conduct own empirical research


Outline: Course Modules

A. Introduction

A.1 The Course

A.2 The Economics of Education

A.3 Measuring Educational Outcomes

B. Topics in Education Policy

B.1 Educational Production, Class-Size Effects, and Funding

B.2 New Technologies in Education

B.3 Teachers and Teaching

B.4 Performance Incentives for Teachers and Students

B.5 Accountability and Central Exams

B.6 School Autonomy

B.7 School Choice and Competition

B.8 Nudges: The Behavioral Economics of Education

B.9 Families and Intergenerational Mobility

B.10 Peer Effects and Social Interaction

B.11 Tracking

B.12 Early Childhood Education Programs

B.13 Vocational Education and Training

B.14 Higher Education

B.15 Adult Education and Training

C. Econometric Methods for Policy Evaluation

C.1 Causal Inference from Observational Data

C.2 Instrumental Variables

C.3 Regression Discontinuity

C.4 Differences-in-Differences

C.5 Fixed Effects

D. Paper Writing

E. Reading Sessions

F. Project Discussions

F.1 Discussion of Project Ideas

F.2 Detailed Project Presentations





Reading List 

Slides Module A 

Slides Module B

Slides Module C

Slides Module D


E. Reading Sessions

14 May

Angrist, Joshua D., Victor Lavy, Jetson Leder-Luis, Adi Shany (2019). Maimonides’ Rule Redux. American Economic Review: Insights 1 (3): 309-324. PDF

28 May

Falck, Oliver, Constantin Mang, Ludger Woessmann (2018). Virtually No Effect? Different Uses of Classroom Computers and Their Effect on Student Achievement. Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics 80 (1): 1-38. PDF

4 June

Andrietti, Vincenzo, Xuejuan Su (2018). The Impact of Schooling Intensity on Student Learning: Evidence from a Quasi-Experiment. Education Finance and Policy 14 (4): 679-701. PDF

18 June

Chetty, Raj, John N. Friedman, Jonah Rockoff (2014). Measuring the Impacts of Teachers II: Teacher Value-Added and the Student Outcomes in Adulthood. American Economic Review 104 (9): 2633-2679. PDF

25 June

Bergbauer, Annika B., Eric A. Hanushek, Ludger Woessmann (2020). Testing. Revised version of NBER Working Paper 24836. Cambridge, MA: National Bureau of Economic Research. PDF

2 July

Rossin-Slater, Maya, Miriam Wüst (2020). What is the Added Value of Preschool for Poor Children? Long-Term and Intergenerational Impacts and Interactions with an Infant Health Intervention. American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, forthcoming. PDF

7 July

Kosse, Fabian, Thomas Deckers, Pia Pinger, Hannah Schildberg-Hörisch, Armin Falk (2020). The Formation of Prosociality: Causal Evidence on the Role of Social Environment. Journal of Political Economy 128 (2): 434-467. PDF