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If you have data, why not use it?

Sociaaleconomisch Beleid: Empirische Analyse is a new course for those students on the Bachelor’s programme in Public Administration who are following the specialisation in Economics, Administration and Management.

We live in an increasingly data-driven world. More and more data is being collected and used for commercial purposes in all sorts of sectors. Why should public administrators not make optimal use of available data in order to further society?

A few weeks ago, those second-year students on the Bachelor’s programme in Public Administration who are following the specialisation in Economics, Administration and Management began the new course, Sociaaleconomisch Beleid: Empirische Analyse.
The course is taught by Dr Olaf van Vliet, Dr Jim Been and Lieke Kools MSc from the Department of Economics.

In this course, students learn how to conduct empirical research into the effects of socio-economic policy instruments. Topics that are covered include the effect on unemployment of unemployment benefits and statutory protection against dismissal. In a course earlier in the year – Sociaaleconomisch Beleid: Theorie en Instituties – students studied the theoretical effects of policy instruments. The question now is how policy works in practice. The students will use panel data to discover causal links. They will do this with the aid of state-of-the-art methods and techniques in the field of empirical policy analysis. 

Course coordinator Olaf van Vliet says, ‘Empirical research into the effects of policy has become an integral part of the world of policymakers and consultants. After all, insight into the effectiveness of policy is key to improving policy. This makes it important to furnish students with this knowledge. Even if you do not end up doing quantitative analyses in your future work, you will better understand other people’s work if you have worked with the techniques.

In short: the new insights that big data provide can help make policy more effective.
The course Socio-economic Policy: Empirical Analysis introduces young public administrators to the use of big data.

Do you want to find out more about using Big Data? The Centre for Professional Learning of the Faculty of Governance and Global Affairs also offers a masterclass on Big Data at the moment for Alumni. 

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