PubAffr 819: Advanced Statistical Methods for Public Policy Analysis

This site provides additional resources for students in PubAffr 819 at the University of Wisconsin, Madison for Spring 2020 Semester (restricted materials at

Parting Advice: Never generate a graph like this, and circulate.
Source: Council of Economic Advisers.

Syllabus | Important Dates | Downloadable Course Materials and Information Sources | Robert M. LaFollette School of Public Affairs | Department of Economics

LECTURE: MW 3:30-4:45, Social Sciences 6203
SECTION: TH 8:50AM-9:40AM Sterling 2335
SECTION: TH 9:55AM-10:45AM Sterling 2335
SECTION: TH 11:00AM-11:50AM Van Vleck B231

Professor Menzie Chinn
Office Hours: MW 2-3 (until 3/9, TBA thereafter)
7418 Social Sciences
Tel: (608) 262-7397
email: mchinn [at]
Home Page

Teaching Assistant
Hyunseok Kim
Office Hours: F 9:30-12:30
Taylor Hall 319
hkim659 [at]

Course Syllabus

PA819 Syllabus in PDF file.

The purpose of this course is to equip students with the tools necessary to tackle issues that involve the empirical analysis of public policy problems of the sort they might encounter in a professional environment. Specifically, the course introduces students to the use of multiple regression analysis for analyzing data. The emphasis is on empirical applications. The course is designed with twin objectives in mind. The first is to provide students with the ability to analyze critically empirical analysis done by others at a level sufficient to make intelligent decisions about how to use that analysis in the design of public policy. The second is to provide students with the skills necessary to perform empirical policy analysis on their own or to participate on a team involved in such an empirical analysis. An important segment of the course focuses on program evaluation. This includes both the design and analysis of experiments that aim at measuring policy effectiveness and the use of non-experimental data to evaluate policy effectiveness. Requisites: Public Affairs 818 and 880.

The required textbook (also available at the UW Bookstore), is:

Additional assigned readings will be available on the Web (via links on this website). Required Readings

Important Dates

  • Midterm 1, 3/23 3/25
  • Midterm 2, 4/29
  • Presentations of Final Exercise, 4/22 Project Memo due, Friday 4/24.

    Course Materials and Sources of Economic Information

    Downloadable Course Materials

    Schedule/Required Readings

    Useful websites

    Additional Readings

    The minimum wage/natural experiment debate Covid-19 Miscellaneous



    PA819 Advanced Statistical Methods for Public Policy Analysis/ UW Madison / mchinn [at] / 6 May 2020