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Summer 1 2012 - 94445 - PA388K - Advanced Topics in Public Policy

Theory & Practice of Cost-Benefit Analysis

Instructor(s): Lincove, Jane Arnold
Unique Number: 94445
Day & Time: TThSa
Room: Washington, DC; exact location to be announced
Waitlist Information:For LBJ Students: UT Waitlist Information
Course Overview

Topics for these policy seminars have included environmental and natural resources policy, health-service delivery policy, social welfare policy, transportation policy, science and technology policy, international affairs, national security, urban and regional growth policy, and political campaigns.


Section Description

This course provides a theoretical foundation for conducting evaluation of policies and projects in a US or international context and teaches practical methods for application in the field. Students will learn the theoretical foundation of cost-benefit analysis, including strategies for valuation, discounting, measuring equity, and addressing risk and uncertainty. Students will learn to adapt methods for implementation in real world evaluation under political, time, and budget constraints. 

Class Schedule and Location: The class will meet in Washington, DC from June 4-June 16 (location TBD). The course schedule is designed to accommodate students with full-time jobs or internships. Class will meet on Saturdays plus Tuesday and Thursday evenings (exact times are available on the syllabus). This includes time to workshop problem sets and consult individually with the instructor.

Grading: Students will complete an independent evaluation project, preferably in conjunction with a summer internship or professional assignment. To get a passing grade, you must complete an independent evaluation project. Because of summer internships, it is expected that students will receive an incomplete for the summer term and grades will be assigned during Fall 2012. The final deadline for all assignments is September 14, 2012. If work is not complete by this deadline, incompletes will be changed to “F”.

Credit/no credit grading is not offered for this course. 

  • Attendance and class participation 10%: Attend all six class sessions, complete reading assignments, and participate in class discussion.
  • In-class problem sets 30%: Problem sets will apply practical concepts discussed in class. There will time in class to work on problem sets in groups. The final due date for all problem sets is June 25.
  • Project proposal 10%: A one-page proposal including the purpose of the project and identification of data sources.
  • Written project 50%: 5-10 page written report of project objectives, methods, data, results, and recommendations.
  • The syllabus (available for download on this site) contains a full course schedule along with required textbook and readings.