Evidence-Based Economics

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About Evidence-Based Economics


Successful economic policy requires a solid understanding of the causal effects of policy interventions. Traditional empirical analysis, however, provides mainly correlational evidence that does not allow for a causal interpretation. In the past two decades, experimental economists and econometricians have developed new tools to identify causal effects. These tools include laboratory experiments, (quasi-)natural and field experiments, as well as sophisticated identification strategies in field studies.

The research program of Evidence-Based Economics (EBE) aims to apply and further develop these methods in order to better understand the mechanisms that govern economic decision making and to properly evaluate the costs and benefits of policy interventions.

EBE combines methods that traditionally have been taught and applied separately. It takes the position that any experimental or empirical investigation must be based on a solid theoretical foundation. Only the combination of these theoretical, experimental, and empirical methods allows researchers to perform counterfactual analysis, to evaluate potential policy interventions properly, and to select the most promising ones.

Our graduate program focuses on an integrated methodological approach whereby it allows for substantive applications from different fields in economics. The need for the methodology of EBE arises in many areas, including public economics, labor economics, health economics, and development economics, but also within private firms and organizations.

The graduate program “Evidence Based Economics“ thus distinguishes itself from existing programs by integrating economic theory and empirical economics and by being open with respect to the specific areas of substantive application. Nevertheless, it has a clear focus on the methodological innovations that are required to identify the effects of economic policy interventions.

The aim of the graduate program is to provide doctoral students with the diverse methodological skills required to perform innovative, state-of-the art economics research within the EBE research agenda, and to apply these skills to important real-world problems. The ultimate goal is to train doctoral students so that they can work at the frontier of theory-guided, evidence-based economics.