Information regarding our 2022/23 admissions cycle

Our updated course listings for the 2022/23 postgraduate admissions cycle will be published at the beginning of October. Applications for 2022 entry will be available shortly after this. Check our how to apply pages for updates.

MA Economics

Year of entry: 2021

Coronavirus information for applicants and offer-holders

We understand that prospective students and offer-holders may have concerns about the ongoing coronavirus outbreak. The University is following the advice from Universities UK, Public Health England and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

Read our latest coronavirus information

Course unit details:
Topics in Applied Economics

Unit code ECON60482
Credit rating 15
Unit level FHEQ level 7 – master's degree or fourth year of an integrated master's degree
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Offered by Economics
Available as a free choice unit? Yes


The aim of this course is to equip students with the tools necessary to understand and evaluate applied economic research, and lay a foundation upon which they can develop and carry out their own high quality research. Students will learn the importance of causal identification. The course will combine the discussion of different econometric methods used by economists to identify causal relationships with the analysis of specific applications of those methods to various topics in applied microeconomics. The methods covered will include descriptive analysis, randomised control trials, differences-in-differences, instrumental variables, and regression discontinuity design. Applications of these methods will be considered in various fields including labour economics, development economics, health economics, and political economy. Students will also learn how to apply the techniques to actual data using econometric software.


Learning outcomes

By the end of the course the students will have a solid understanding of different empirical methodologies used in applied economics research and will be capable of applying that toolkit to the types of questions they will encounter in public sector work, economic consultancies, private firms or in further research projects. They will also be comfortable performing data analysis using econometrics software. Students will work on a referee report and a research proposal where they will consider the application of the concepts and techniques developed in class.




A preliminary list of topics includes:

  1. Importance of identifying causal relationships
  2. Descriptive data analysis with applications from labour economics and environmental economics
  3. Randomised control trials with an application from development economics
  4. Differences-in-differences with an application from health economics  
  5. Instrumental variables estimation with an application from labour economics 
  6. Regression discontinuity design with applications from political economy and public economics 




Teaching and learning methods

Lectures and tutorials

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Other 40%
Written exam 60%
Final Exam: 60%
Research Proposal: 25%
Referee Report: 15%

Recommended reading

The primary text for the course will be either: 

“Mostly Harmless Econometrics: An Empiricist's Companion” by Joshua D. Angrist & Jörn-Steffen Pischke (2008), Princeton University Press.


“Mastering Metrics: The Path from Cause to Effect” by Joshua D. Angrist & Jörn-Steffen Pischke (2014), Princeton University Press.

Although some of the technical aspects included in the book will be covered in class, the focus will be predominantly on the intuition behind the different econometric methods and how to apply them to different research questions.  

Most of the reading will come from published research papers provided by the lecturer during the course


Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 20
Tutorials 3
Independent study hours
Independent study 127

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Edward Manderson Unit coordinator

Return to course details