Statistics for Public Policy

Course Number
GAFL 611 001
Course Code
Course Key
GAFL 611 101 (LAB)
Course Note
This course has seats reserved for Fels' students and gives priority to grad students.
Course Description
This course is GAFL 611, the required course in statistical analysis for students in the Fels school. This is the required course in statistical analysis for public policy/public administration. Increasingly, this is a quantitative field. Even if you think you’ll someday just be (say) a city manager, and not likely to use quantitative analysis yourself, you will likely find yourself working with quantitative data. For example, “policy evaluation” has become a buzzword in recent years in public management, and examples involving Felsgraduates—or their equivalents—abound. Did giving low-income children after-school tutoring improve their academic performance? Does expanding a free-lunch program reduce the number of student outbursts in classrooms? Did Philadelphia’s “big belly” trash cans actually reduce the amount of litter on our streets? Answering any of these questions requires statistical analysis. This course aims to lay the groundwork for you to answer these (and many more!) questions. The point here is not to convince you to adopt a quantitative design for your own work, or that quantitative designs are the “best” designs for answering all questions. Rather, the goal is to give you a set of tools that will enable you to read, critique and eventually produce your own quantitative research. The course will introduce you to the logic of social scientific inquiry, and the basic statistical tools used to analyze politics and public policy.