Metrics that Matter
This course introduces students to a social impact structure. It will introduce concepts, which will be fully explored in
subsequent courses, notably on causality, evaluation and cost-benefit analysis. We will approach techniques of use, with
quantitative emphasis. Let's relate to a big data revolution.
Upon completion of this course, students should be able to:
A. Knowledge and Understanding
•Understand the importance of measuring social impact.
•Appreciate the concepts of causality and theory of change.
•Know the basic cost-benefit framework of policy analysis.
•Recognize the different possibilities of measuring social impact.
B. Subject-Specific Skills
•Apply the concept of theory of change, the framework of cost benefit, and the plethora of measurement methods to specific
social impact cases.
C. General Skills
•Confidently understand how the framework of measuring social impact is organized.
Weekly - Available soon
Total - Available soon
Gugerty, Mary Kay, and Dean Karlan (2017), The Goldilocks Problem, Oxford University Press;
Wheelan, Charles (2014), Naked Statistics, Norton;
Angrist, Joshua D., and Jörn-Steffen Pischke (2015), Mastering ‘Metrics, Princeton University Press;
Boardman, Anthony E., David H. Greenberg, Aidan R. Vining, and David L. Weimer (2018), Cost-Benefit Analysis: Concepts
and Practice, Cambridge University Press;
Sunstein, Cass R. (2018), The Cost-Benefit Revolution, MIT Press;
Fowler Jr., Floyd J. (2013), Survey Research Methods, Sage Publications;
Martin, Paul (2008), Measuring Behaviour: An Introductory Guide, Cambridge University Press;
Chang, Ann Mei (2019), Lean Impact: How to Innovate for Radically Greater Social Good, Wiley;
MacLaughlin, Steve (2016), Data Driven Nonprofits, Saltire Press;
Gneezy, Uri, and John List (2013), The Why Axis: Hidden Motives and the Undiscovered Economics of Everyday Life,
There will be two classes of 1 hour and 20 minutes per week, based on slides. For each topic, a general overview will be
given. Specific cases will be studied in greater detail, namely through presentations conducted by students.
Presentation of a case study of impact measurement (40% of the grade): To be done in groups (specific size depending on
class size) for the duration of approximately 45 minutes (30 minutes presentation, 15+ minutes discussion).
Final exam (60% of the grade).
Participation in class is taken into account in marginal cases: All students are required to read the cases in advance, and to
comment on the presentations during class.
The course will begin by discussing how important measuring social impact is. It will then introduce the idea of causality
and theory of change. A first look at cost-benefit analysis will follow, grounded on economics. It will then cover different
measurement techniques, including survey and observational methods. Finally, it will relate measurement to the availability
of big data and discuss the concept of lean data.
Programs where the course is taught: