Counterfactual Impact Evaluation (join a waiting list)


31/05/2016 - 02/06/2016

Organised by:

NCRM, University of Southampton


Dr Barbara Sianesi is a Senior Research Economist at the Institute for Fiscal Studies. She has been involved in the evaluation of numerous government programmes, in the analysis of the consequences of misrecorded treatment status, and in the estimation of the returns to different types and levels of education. She has published both in the evaluation and returns to educational areas. She is widely acknowledged as a leading expert in the area of matching techniques, having also co-written a Stata matching software which is among the most downloaded programs. She has a long standing experience in teaching highly popular courses on programme evaluation methods for Cemmap, PEPA and government departments both in the UK and abroad. She holds a PhD in Economics from Milan as well as one from University College London, the latter one focusing on programme evaluation.


Entry (no or almost no prior knowledge)


Jacqui Thorp
Training and Capacity Building Co-ordinator
National Centre for Research Methods
Phone: 02380594069


View in Google Maps  (SO17 1BJ)


Building 39, University of Southampton, Highfield, Southampton, Hants


How do we know whether a specific labour market policy was effective or not? This three-day workshop provides an introduction to Counterfactual Impact Evaluation (CIE) methods which are used to assess the impact of ‘interventions’ implemented by policies. It offers an overview of the fundamental problem of causal inference and describes the main econometric tools for carrying out an impact evaluation. The lectures provide numerous examples of different government policies for introducing into CIE methods. During the tutorials participants can discuss in detail one specific example during group work. The computer workshops using the statistical software Stata will enable participants to evaluate policies themselves and provide them with the necessary hands-on knowledge for doing their own evaluations in the future.

The course covers:

  • Rubin’s causal model and the fundamental problem of causal inference
  • Alternative approaches to constructing the counterfactual states:
    • Matching methods
    • Differences in differences method (DiD)
    • Sharp and fuzzy regression discontinuity design (RDD)
    • Instrumental variable approach (IV)
    • Combination of methods

By the end of the course participants will:

  • Understand the key concepts of causal inference
  • Develop critical thinking about counterfactual methods
  • Understand the pros and cons of alternative counterfactual impact evaluation methods
  • Choose and implement the appropriate method in a concrete evaluation of a program
  • Organise and conduct an independent counterfactual impact evaluation
  • Be able to write a Stata program for evaluating a specific policy

The course is aimed at researchers and practitioners interested in gaining an understanding and working knowledge of evaluation methods. Participants may be PhD students or academic researchers in the social and health sciences or may work in government, the voluntary or the private sector. While the tutor comes from an economics background and will draw examples from that discipline, the tools the course focuses on are of general applicability.

The course includes computer workshops using Stata. Some familiarity with Stata is beneficial.

  • Basic working knowledge of statistical concepts (e.g. significance testing, regression analysis) and familiarity with the use of statistical notation is recommended.
  • The practical part of the course will make use of Stata; although the exercises will be guided, it is strongly advised to get acquainted with basic Stata syntax by reading a document provided by the presenter before the course.

Please note that this is an intermediate-level course. While most emphasis will be devoted on imparting a practical understanding and a working knowledge of the different methods, the course does rely on notation and contains a certain degree of formalisation.



The fee per teaching day is:

• £30 per day for UK/EU registered students
• £60 per day for staff at UK/EU academic institutions, UK/EU Research Councils researchers, UK/EU public sector staff and staff at UK/EU registered charity organisations and recognised UK/EU research institutions.
• £220 per day for all other participants.

All fees include event materials, lunch, morning and afternoon tea. They do not include travel and accommodation costs.

Website and registration:


South East


Quantitative Software, Stata, Experimental Research , Quasi-experimental research (matching methods, DID, IV, RDD) , Evaluation Research (policy evaluation) , Computer workshops with Stata

Related publications and presentations:

Quantitative Software

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