« Asia and the Pacific/Economic Development

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The goal of this micro-credential is to provide a broad, practitioner-oriented introduction to evidence-based policy with a precise geographic focus on the Pacific. What is evidence-based policy? How should policy-makers weigh different types of evidence in their decision making? What data and evidence is available in the Pacific, and how should it be interpreted? How does Pacific migration affect communities left behind? How does increasing state capacity, for example through more police officers after civil conflict, affect power inequalities between men and women? We do not answer these questions with anecdotes and abstract theory. This is an empirical course and this micro-credential will offer answers to these important questions through applied case studies with detailed survey data and concrete examples. Over the micro-credential, enrollees will be brought from a gentle introduction to the key ideas in causal inference up to the frontier of research and policy practice. The micro-credential is designed to not require any prerequisites, but a quantitative social science background (e.g., economics) may be helpful and students should expect to engage with challenging, state-of-the-art quantitative research. It should be of interest to those with an interest in policy or the region, and those with an interest in development economics and development studies more broadly.

Case Studies presented in this micro-credential will be selected from the following list:

  • Cases in labour economics: early child hood education (PEARL)
  • Cases in labour economics: the Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) program
  • Cases in labour economics: brain gain in Fiji
  • Cases in labour economics: long term migration from the Pacific
  • Cases in governance and the state: community-driven development in the Solomon Islands
  • Cases in governance and the state: improving tax compliance in Papua New Guinea
  • Cases in governance and the state: policing and gender inequality in Papua New Guinea


  1. The credibility revolution and evidence-based policy
  2. Data in the Pacific and statistical preliminaries
  3. Policy and program evaluation—experimental and non-experimental techniques

Learning outcomes 

Upon successful completion, enrollees will have the knowledge and skills to: 

  1. Be aware of the different types of empirical evidence available for policy
  2. Understand key differences between different types of causal evidence
  3. Read, interpret, and evaluate empirical development studies
  4. Be familiar with key topics in Pacific development and the latest research on them
  5. Appreciate the role of empirical research in improving policy and development outcomes

Indicative assessment

One-page Policy Brief, including an impact evaluation design (60%); Links to LO: 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5

Critical Review / Referee Report of research paper (20%); Links to LO: 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5

Presentation of Research Paper (40%); Links to LO: 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5

Assumed knowledge 

Familiarity with or at least willingness to understand data, statistics, graphs, tables, basic economic theory, and challenging research papers are all important.

This Micro-credential is taught at graduate level and assumes the generic skills of a Bachelors or equivalent. 

Micro-credential stack information 

 This Micro-credential is currently not part of a stack.


  • Course Code: DPA14

  • Workload: Contact hours: 12 hours, face-to-face or online (eg via Zoom). Individual study and assessment: approx. 50-60 hours.

  • ANU unit value: 3 units

  • Course Code Level: 8000

  • Contact:  ANU Department of Pacific Affairs: dpa@anu.edu.au

This Micro-credential is taught at a graduate level.  This is not an AQF qualification. 

View all Upcoming Micro-credentials