INSIGHTS PhD course: Economics and Transfer to the Public

Course Description

Researchers face the challenge to translate their academic results to policy makers and to the public. Often the results are derived using complex models, which are based on strong assumptions. Therefore, it is necessary to develop methods and skills, which allow to explain the models and the assumptions to policy makers and to the public and to derive results and policy conclusions based on the models. This course provides an introduction to communication of academic research to the public and to evidence based policy consulting. In this class students prepare a policy brief which will be presented in a mock press conference.  


The basis for this class and for the policy brief is a   working paper or published article. Ideally students use their own  completed  working paper. Alternatively, it is possible to choose a scientific paper (working paper or published) with policy relevance. Before the beginning of the class students should contact the instructors do make a final decision about the paper.  In addition students need to have an excellent background in theoretical and empirical methods (Required courses are: Econometrics I or II and two courses out of Micro I&II, Macro I&II or ManSci I&II.) The course is designed for PhD students in the second or third year depending on the status of their first research paper.

Organization of the Course

The course is interactive and applied. In the first session, students need to present a very short description of the research paper they have chosen. This paper can be related to any field of economics and management. Importantly the paper should have some policy content. There are two requirements for the course, i) a policy brief and ii) a presentation of the policy paper during a mock press-conference.

The policy brief should not exceed 5 pages.  The target audience for the paper are policy makers and journalists. Therefore, it is necessary that the method, technical details and assumptions are presented in a nontechnical way. (Here are some examples of established policy papers,,, The policy brief can be used as a basis for a DIW Wochenbericht, but publishing a Wochenbericht is not part of the course (however we offer an extra session: how to write a Wochenbericht, see below).

The mock press conference will include a short oral presentation of the policy paper followed by questions of journalists and policy makers.  For this event we will invite real external journalists and policy makers to simulate a real press conference.

Note, the policy paper and the presentation can be in German or English

During the course students will discuss the progress of the policy brief and the presentation for the press conference in small groups (4-5 participants) together with an instructor.  There will be four class meetings, a presentation and an extra session with information about the Wochenbericht. Participation is mandatory.


Peter Haan
Katharina Wrohlich