Video: Using R for causal inference in a study of expensive public policy decisions

This post shares the video from a talk presented on 9th April 2013 by Jim Savage at Melbourne R Users.

Billions of dollars a year are spent subsidising tuition of Australian university students. A controversial report last year by the Grattan Institute, Graduate Winners, asked ‘is this the best use of government money?’

In this talk, Jim Savage, one of the researchers who worked on the report, walks us through the process of doing the analysis in R. The talk will focus on potential pitfalls/annoyances in this sort of research, and on causal inference when all we have is observational data. He will also outline his new method of building synthetic control groups of observational data using tools more commonly associated with data mining.

Jim Savage is an applied economist at the Grattan Institute, where he has researched education policy, the structure of the Australian economy, and fiscal policy. Before that, he worked in macroeconomic modelling at the Federal Treasury.

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