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Empirical Public Economics

Course description:

The central goal of this course is to provide an introduction to the use of empirical methods for answering economic and political questions. You will learn to critically assess empirical papers in the area of public economics and you will be taught how to apply modern econometric methods, which are commonly used in empirical public economics, to a variety of research questions. Topics include the effect of taxation on the behavior of individuals and firms, the evaluation of social programs, the incentive effects of subsidies, and the design of transfer programs such as unemployment insurance or the pension system. When discussing the relevant literature, we will focus not only on the content, but also on the empirical methodology used to identify causal effects. Empirical approaches covered in the course include, amongst others, natural and field experiments, difference-in-differences estimations, instrumental variables, discrete-choice analysis, regression discontinuity design, and panel data analysis. Computer exercises and real-world micro data sets will help you to better understand these methods and to develop fluency in the usage of the statistical software package Stata.