Seminar Public Finance (MW23.4) ​- Winter Term 2020/21

Survey Design for Causal Inference: Applications in Public Economics Research.


The seminar deals with current questions of social policy and topics in education and migration economics. The main focus lies on the empirical examination of these topics by means of methods of survey design for causal inference. Representative and methodologically advanced survey techniques contribute to the analysis of economic relationships concerning the causal effects of policy measures and the attitudes of the population towards redistribution and pension policy, educational policy and international migration. Interpreting the causal relationships identified via these survey methods allows researchers to provide reliable scientific advice for policy makers. The seminar hence aims to develop an understanding of the relevance of econometric survey methods and their implications for empirical analyses in public economics research.


You will have to read and understand original empirical research papers as part of this course. A solid background in statistics and regression analysis is a necessary perquisite in order to successfully pass this course. We highly recommend taking "Empirical Methods" (MW24.1) before this seminar.

Important Remarks

The Chair of Public Finance follows a zero-tolerance policy with respect to plagiarism. In our seminar in the winter term 2018/19, more than 20% of the students failed because of plagiarism in their seminar papers. Please read again carefully the slides about plagiarism and conduct the test on "How to Cite/ How to Avoid Plagiarism" available in the Moodle-course "Approaches to Economic Science" ("WS2020-Approaches"). (If you do not have access to this Moodle-course, contact Patrick Bareinz.)

June 2020 Central registration
23 July 2020,
10.00 - 11.00 h
For those students allocacted to this seminar: Meeting and presentation of topics (via Zoom)
24 July 2020 Choice of preferred topics and preferred start date (see next item). The topics´ preferences serve as the basis for the allocation of topics.
11 August 2020,
1 September 2020 or
22 September 2020
Start of your individual writing period. You can choose to receive your topic on either Tuesday, August 11, September 1, or September 22.

After receiving your topic, you have 5 weeks to complete a first version of your seminar paper. The paper will then be refereed by another student within 1 week. After receiving the referee report you have 2 more weeks to improve your paper on the basis of the referee's comments.
5 October 2020,
26 October 2020 or
16 November 2020 (depending on start date)
Submission of the final version of your seminar paper (depending on start date). The deadline is midnight from Monday to Tuesday.
November 2020 Time plan for the seminar (incl. allocation of discussants)
Beginning of Dececmber 2020 Seminar (blocked)


For guidelines and regulations, see here.


To submit your topic preferences and review the slides after the information event on 16 July 2020, please go to link ("Seminar Public Finance (MW23.4) - Winter Term 2020/21").  You will also find further information and materials on the seminar there.