Experimental and Quasi-Experimental Methods of Microeconomic Program and Policy Evaluation

Melbourne Institute Working Paper No. 08/05

Date: June 2005


Jeff Borland
Yi-Ping Tseng
Roger Wilkins


In this paper we review new empirical methods for evaluating microeconomic policies. Experimental and quasi-experimental evaluation measure the causal impact of a policy by comparing outcomes in the presence of the policy 'treatment' with outcomes in the absence of this treatment. For example, evaluation of a government program involves comparing outcomes associated with participation and non-participation in the program. We describe the motivation for the use of experimental and quasi-experimental methods, the types of policy effects that they can identify, and how they are implemented. Application of experimental and quasi-experimental methods is illustrated through a brief review of a variety of recent Australian studies that have evaluated microeconomic policies such as labour market programs, welfare payments policies, education policies, health policies and minimum wage laws.

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