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ES50142: Applied economics: policy brief

[Page last updated: 02 August 2022]

Academic Year: 2022/23
Owning Department/School: Department of Economics
Credits: 30 [equivalent to 60 CATS credits]
Notional Study Hours: 600
Level: Masters UG & PG (FHEQ level 7)
Dissertation period
Assessment Summary: CW 100%
Assessment Detail:
  • Policy Brief (CW 100%)
Supplementary Assessment:
Like-for-like reassessment (where allowed by programme regulations)
Requisites: Before taking this module you must take ES50115
Learning Outcomes: On completion of this unit students will be able to:
1) design and write two policy briefs, and present and communicate their findings to a diverse audience through carefully designed A0-sized posters.
2) create these policy briefs by drawing on academic literature, lectures and masterclasses by subject experts, and their own original data-analysis and/or secondary data-analysis (where appropriate).
3) use techniques and skills provided throughout their degree, and especially the unit 'Applied Economics Research Methods' (ES50115).
4) design policy briefs suitable for informing government or private sector policy-makers on policy choices available to them, as well as advice on what might be the best course of action.
5) create A0-posters associated with their policy briefs suitable for explaining current issues and relevant policy responses to stakeholders and affected communities, as well as the general public.

Aims: This unit aims to provide students with experience and practice of the type of writing that professional economists are most likely to have to do in their job: shorter and solution-focused policy reports that are aimed either at decision-makers (in government or the private sector) or the public. This means learning to identify and describe concisely a specfic policy problem, and applying sound and credible research in order to derive (and rank) possible solutions.

Skills: 1) Summarise objectively key findings of relevant academic research and other relevant evidence
2) Organise the source material effectively
3) Present concisely their findings and recommendations
4) Use clear language that non-specialist readers are likely to understand.

Content: The unit is organised around a series of policy areas/challenges provided by the Department of Economics based on input from academics and research activities under the Departmental Research Themes, such as 'Innovation and Productivity', Social Determinants of Health, 'Sustainable Living', and 'Governance of Institutions and Systems'. Supervision sessions with a member of staff (who has a related research background) will provide students with guidance on how to identify relevant academic literature, conduct data-analysis (where required), interpret research findings, and on how to write an impactful policy brief.

Programme availability:

ES50142 is Optional on the following programmes:

Department of Economics


  • This unit catalogue is applicable for the 2022/23 academic year only. Students continuing their studies into 2023/24 and beyond should not assume that this unit will be available in future years in the format displayed here for 2022/23.
  • Programmes and units are subject to change in accordance with normal University procedures.
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