Introduction to Policy Analysis and Policy Advice

Guest Instructor: 
Franziska Bremus
Tomaso Duso
Felix Weinhardt
Aleksandar Zaklan
Time I: 
Friday, 03:30pm
Venue I: 
DIW, Mohrenstraße 58, Karl Popper Room (2.3.020)

Researchers face the challenge to translate their academic results to policy makers and to the public. Often the results are derived using complex theoretical or empirical models, which are based on strong assumptions. Therefore, it is necessary to develop methods and skills, which allow to explain the models and the assumptions to policy makers and to derive results and policy conclusions based on the models.
This course provides an introduction to policy analysis and to evidence-based policy advice. The course addresses the following questions:
How to motivate the research and policy questions?
How to discuss the methods and assumptions used for the policy analysis?
How to discuss limitations of the research design?
How to present the results to policy makers?
How to derive policy conclusions?
During the course students will prepare a policy paper which should be ideally based on a paper of the dissertation. We will focus on oral and written presentations of the policy paper.

Students need to have an excellent background in theoretical and empirical methods (Required courses are: Econometrics I&II and two courses out of Micro I&II, Macro I&II or ManSci I&II.) They should have a clear idea of which field they want to write their dissertation in. Moreover, they should have already chosen their supervisor and a topic for a first paper of the dissertation. PhD students have the possibility to take the course in the 3rd or the 5th term.

Organization of the Course:
The course is interactive and applied. In the beginning, the students need to develop a research question with a clear policy focus. The question and the research design can be related to any field of economics. The research question is closely related to the first paper of the dissertation and should be developed in close cooperation with the supervisor.
At the same time, a course advisor from the pool of instructors will be matched with the students. The advisors provide guidance throughout the course and offer office hours.

There will be four class meetings with the following requirements (concrete dates are listed in the syllabus):
1. Introduction (mid October) – organization and example of policy briefing (Tomaso Duso and Peter Haan)
2. Abstract (200 words) of the research project that will be the basis for the policy paper (shortly after the first meeting, mid October). Based on this abstract we will match students to a course advisor.
3. Presentation of the research question (after 4 weeks – mid November)
Students have to hand in a two page description of the question, including a motivation of why the question is important for policy – specifically taking into account the debate relevant to their question – and which research design will be chosen. During the meeting students need to present their research question in 5 minutes.
4. Presentation of the method and assumptions (Mid-term) (after 2 months – mid December)
Mid-term paper: Students have to hand in a five-page description of the method and the assumptions and first preliminary results. During the meeting students need to present their mid-term paper in 7 minutes.
5. Presentation of the results and of the policy conclusions (after 4 months).
Students have to hand in a final 10 page policy paper including executive summary, motivation, method, results and policy conclusion. During the meeting students need to present their results in 10 minutes.

Related Literature:
Jayaraman, R. and J. Rocholl (2017): Research-based policy advice to the G20, G20 Insights, May 21. Available online at
Financial Stability Board (2017): Framework for Post-Implementation Evaluation of the Effects of the G20 Financial Regulatory Reforms. Available online at

Fall 2018
Deutsches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung
End date of the whole course: 
Friday, February 15, 2019 - 6:00pm