AERD40160 Applied Policy Analysis Modelling

Academic Year 2018/2019

Policy makers, firms, interest groups and other stakeholders frequently require information about the economic impacts of actual or potential policies. Although analytical or graphical economic models are invaluable tools for structured economic thinking and policy analysis, they often do not include enough detail to answer specific questions as faced in the real world, for instance, by policy makers. Adding more detail to the models, for example, by introducing more economic actors, production factors, markets or varying economic mechanisms, renders them quickly insolvable using analytical approaches.

This course covers the formulation of computable, applied economic models, as commonly used for real world policy analysis, and their implementation and numerical solution utilizing the mathematical modelling system GAMS. Such models are built on real world data, may consist of hundreds of equations and allow for quantitative and simultaneous evaluation of all interacting mechanisms at once. This system can then be applied to simulate scenarios answering all kinds of what-if policy questions.

The module provides a degree of understanding which allows building, modifying and using simple policy simulation models as well as interpreting and judging policy simulation results from third party researchers to inform policy makers, other stakeholders or researchers.

This module is designed to equip students in a series of combined lecture and hands-on classes with
- the theoretical concepts required for analyzing real world policies and their economic consequences, such as the consequences of import tariffs or production subsidies.
- the skills to abstract and cast policy analysis questions into mathematical economic models.
- working knowledge of a tool (the GAMS software) allowing the transformation of theoretical models into applied models which are then used, together with real world economic data, for simulating and assessing alternative policy scenarios with the help of a computer.
- sufficient background knowledge of the models, data requirements and problems to allow an educated judgment of results and conclusions from applied policy analysis studies.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

Upon completion of this course, students should
- be able to formulate economic models mathematically and to implement them in GAMS;
- be able to formulate computable partial equilibrium models and
- to understand their data and parameter requirements,
- to formulate and run policy simulations;
- to interpret and critically scrutinize the simulation results, in particular, to explain the factors which drive these results, such as specific model mechanisms and parameters and
- to be able to distinguish what conclusions can and cannot be drawn from the model results;
- be able to critically assess the suitability of this model type for the analysis of various economic questions.

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours
Specified Learning Activities


Autonomous Student Learning




Computer Aided Lab




Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations
Learning Requirements:

Admission to this module will be subject to satisfying prior learning requirements and will be at the discretion of the module coordinator.

Learning Recommendations:

This module will build on the material covered in an “Introduction to Economics” course which includes the basic micro- and macroeconomic theories. Students should be prepared to autonomously catch up with materials where they are lacking the required knowledge.

Description % of Final Grade Timing
Assignment: In semester


Continuous Assessment: Quizzes,homework projects




This module is not passable by compensation

Resit Opportunities

In-semester assessment


If you fail this module you may repeat, resit or substitute where permissible.