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This master's-level course provides students with the basic tools of policy analysis. Students will learn and apply tools of decision analysis in written group assignments and in an accompanying computer lab. Students will also learn and apply concepts of cost-effectiveness, cost-benefit, and cost-utility analysis with social service, medical, and public health applications. Doctoral students and master's students who intend to take the course Advanced Applications of Cost-Effectiveness Analysis in Health will complete two additional laboratory assignments.
Topics to be covered include: Decision trees for structured policy analysis, the economic value of information, analysis of screening programs for HIV and child maltreatment, sensitivity analysis, cost-effectiveness analysis of life-saving interventions and programs to reduce behavioral risk, valuing quality of life outcomes, ethical issues in cost-benefit analysis, analysis of “irrational” risk behaviors. Substantive areas covered include: HIV/substance use prevention, school-based prevention of sexual risk, smoking cessation, and housing policy.
In the associated learning lab, students will use computer decision software to build and analyze decision trees in policy-relevant examples. They will conduct one-way and two-way sensitivity analysis to explore the impact of key parameters on cost-effectiveness of alternative policies. Students will receive an introduction to dynamic modeling in the context of HIV prevention, cancer screening, and transportation programs. Prerequisite: One prior course in microeconomics.