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Systematic Approaches to Policy Decisions

Enrollment in this course is by invitation only

About This Unit:

With many available approaches for systematic policy decision making, it can be hard to know where to begin. This unit explores the role of evidence in three common frameworks – cost-benefit analysis, decision analysis, and policy analysis matrices – in order to help you decide which method to apply when.

This unit will help you:

  • Understand when different approaches to analyzing policy decisions might be most useful
  • Weigh the merits and limitations of different approaches to policy decision making
  • Understand the implications of systematic and non-systematic errors in data quality


  • Some familiarity with the policy realm
  • Some familiarity with basic statistics(comfort with basic math and familiarity with basic statistical terminology, like “mean” and “sample”)
  • English language proficiency

About Evidence for Policy Design

The Evidence for Policy Design (EPoD) at Harvard Kennedy School uses analytical insights, drawn from economics and backed by rigorous evidence, to inform the design and implementation of public policies and programs around the world. To learn more about EPoD, please visit us at and follow @EPoDHarvard on Twitter.

About Building Capacity to Use Research Evidence (BCURE)

This unit was developed through the EPoD Building Capacity to Use Research Evidence: Data and Evidence for Smart Policy Design (BCURE) project, a multi-year engagement to build technical and institutional capacity to integrate data and research evidence into policy decision making, focusing on South Asia. The development of this unit was funded by UK aid from the UK government; however, the views expressed do not necessarily reflect the UK government’s official policies.

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    Private enrollment, self-paced
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