I teach courses in quantitative methods, public finance and budgeting and an introductory course on the scientific method and unravelling fake news. Below is a short description of these courses.
Data Analysis for Public Policy:
The primary focus of this course is to introduce students to quantitative methods for analysing and interpreting data for public policy purposes. In order to achieve this will require building some technical foundations which will allow students to present compact, streamlined and informative analysis that weeds out any irrelevant information and sells a key message. As managers, this course also gives students the ability to critically assess the underlying methodology and quality/ comprehensiveness of the data used to reach public policy decisions and interpret it in a meaningful way. Topics covered are: accessing and interpreting data, variance and standard deviations, correlations and regression analysis.
Public Finance and Budgeting:
Public finance management and public sector budgeting play a fundamental role in balancing the social and economic objectives of the state and acts as a significant determinant of macroeconomic performance. The importance of having strong public finance management systems along with comprehensive and transparent evaluation of fiscal risk has been extremely important since the exponential growth in the size of government in the past 100 years and with several outstanding challenges highlighted by the 2008 financial crisis. A prerequisite component for achieving these goals is an efficient budgeting process. This course examines both theoretical and empirical perspectives on public finance management and the budgeting process with a focus on actors and institutional constraints and a practical/contemporary evaluation of the public sector from a broader macroeconomic perspective. While the study of public finance management is extremely vast covering several disciplines and specialized areas, the purpose of this course is to provide students with a broad practical understanding of public finance management and budgeting. Specific topics covered will include public sector reform, budget theory, fiscal surveillance, time horizons, subnational public finance, public sector accounting and fiscal transparency.
Lies, Damn Lies, and Bullshit
In the age of information overload, big data, social media and contestation over ‘fake news’ based on ‘evidence’ and ‘facts’, it is more important than ever to equip students of politics with the necessary skills to read, interpret and critically assess conclusions, political claims and government findings based on strong methodological foundations. “Lies, Damned Lies, and Bullshit” aims to turn students into competent producers, and critical consumers, of ‘facts’ or scientifically based information. We will review the process by which facts are developed using a ‘scientific method’, which will include ontology (what is reality), epistemology (nature, sources and justification of reality or facts), methodology (how do we prove/disprove claims about reality) and methods (what methods are available to social scientists). The second part of this course will give particular attention to quantitative methods in terms of i) the quality of political, economic and financial data; ii) introduction to correlation and causation in social sciences. The main aim is to turn students into data aware consumers with some basic statistical skill, before moving to more detailed methodological training in year 2 methods course.
- Public Finance (general)
- Fiscal Policy (especially tax systems)
- Macroeconomic linkages/Balance Sheet Analysis
- Public Sector Corporations
- Financial Regulation
- Income Inequality
- Fiscal Transparency/Corruption
- Digital Currencies/Alternative Finance
- Quantitative Methods
- Formal modelling
- Well-structured Qualitative Methods (should be empirical)