1 Basic Information

Course Prerequisite(s) ECONOM 9473 or instructor’s consent (per Course Catalog)

Class Meetings XXX TIME XXX DAYS Mondays and Wednesdays in XXX BUILDING

Instructor Dave Kaplan, 227 Professional Building, office hours XXX TIME XXX DAY (or email me to make an appointment to meet another day/time, or just stop by and see if I’m in my office), kaplandm@missouri.edu

Texts and Materials Everything you need will be available on Canvas and/or my website, and I plan to provide (free) printed copies of the “textbook” in Week 2.

Course Website The course site is on Canvas. Please let me know immediately if you cannot access it. I will post any files and announcements there, and you will submit your assignments there. Make sure your settings are such that you get emailed when a new announcement (etc.) is posted. There is also a calendar in Canvas for our class, but I’ll try to also announce anything I put on the calendar.

2 Learning Objectives

The course catalog says about this class, “Equips students with some essential tools for conducting publishable econometric research. Topics at the discretion of the instructor—typically microeconometrics.”

More specifically, I hope you’ll be able to do the following.

If there’s more you want to learn, please let me know—that’s why I’m here.

3 Classes

shows a tentative schedule of topics. Let me know if you have any preferences among chapters in the textbook, or additional topics; this class is to benefit you and your research as much as possible, so I will accommodate requests if feasible and Pareto-improving for students. (And if we don’t cover something in class, I’m still happy to discuss it with you outside of class.)

When you start to prepare for each class, check Canvas for the most recently updated schedule and details (like which specific questions we’ll discuss).

Before each class, I expect you to look through the corresponding material in the textbook. I don’t expect you to master the material simply by reading. I do expect you to read carefully enough to participate fully in class. This includes asking questions about material you found confusing, as well as participating in class discussions.

Each class follows the same structure. At the beginning, you have the opportunity to ask any questions about the textbook material. The remainder of class is spent on Discussion Questions (DQs) from the textbook. You first discuss the DQ with the student next to you for a few minutes. Then you share the ideas generated in pairs with the full class.

Table 1: Tentative schedule (30 classes total).
# Classes Topic(s)
2 Writing
1 LaTeX (get free Overleaf account and bring laptop to class)
1 R (bring laptop to class; either download R/RStudio or get Azure account)
1 Logic
3 Quantile Regression (Description and Prediction)
3 Quantile Regression (Structural and Treatment Effect Models)
3 Distributional Inference
3 Bootstrap
2 Bayesian Bootstrap
6 Nonparametric Regression
2 Regression Discontinuity
3 Partial Identification

4 Assignments and Grading

Your overall grade consists of five equal parts (20% each): class participation, and four assignments to be submitted through Canvas.

4.1 Participation

Participation is graded by effort. Whether you say something “right” or “smart” is irrelevant. In fact, this is a good opportunity to get comfortable with being wrong and feeling dumb, which will aid your transition from classwork to research. (I do expect that in 3 years you’ll be an expert on your dissertation research topic, but I have no such expectations now.) If you make a good faith effort to participate in every class, then you’ll get 100%. This includes both asking questions at the beginning of class and participating in the Discussion Questions.

4.2 Assignments 1–3: Exercises

The first three assignments you submit will be end-of-chapter exercises from the textbook. At most one (of the three) can be from Chapters 1–2, but otherwise you may pick whichever you like. These are also primarily graded on effort, so I suggest picking whichever most interest you. However, this does not mean you can just write down some nonsense and get full credit, because seeing a bunch of nonsense signals to me that you did not make much effort. If even after talking with your classmates and/or me and/or the internet you are still not sure you’re doing something right, try to explain you doubts (and your efforts) in your submission. It is good to be aware of your shortcomings rather than demonstrate the Dunning–Kruger effect. If you have any questions, just ask me. As always, it’s best to start early to allow time for confusion, debugging, dreaming of solutions, etc.

4.3 Assignment 4: Research

The fourth assignment is related to whatever research you have started working on, in particular the econometric aspects of it since that’s what I can best give you helpful feedback on. It can be empirical or methodological. (If you’re doing purely theoretical macro or something, we can discuss options other options; please let me know ASAP.) You will submit a short (or long if you want) write-up and do a 10-minute presentation during our final exam time. (You will also have to listen attentively and ask questions of your classmates.)

This fourth assignment should provide you 1) motivation to start/continue your research, 2) feedback on the econometric aspects of your research, 3) practice writing and presenting, and 4) practice thinking critically about your peers’ research and discussing research with them. Irrespective of your progress or the “quality” of your research so far, if you take the “projects” seriously, then I will take seriously my role in providing you feedback and guidance. (Even next semester/year, I’ll still be happy to provide you feedback on your research.)

Presentation Details You may use slides or just write on the blackboard. It’s not a lot of time, so focus on helping the audience understand enough to ask helpful questions or provide helpful comments. This is an opportunity for you to get input from your classmates and me. It will be a lost opportunity if you just try to make yourself sound smart by using lots of undefined jargon and complicated equations that nobody can understand. (It also won’t make you sound smart, but that’s secondary.)

Written Submission Details It is pretty open-ended since you are all at different stages of research. Do your best to summarize wherever you currently are, and what you think the critical next steps (econometrically) will be. For example, if it’s empirical, discuss your economic research/policy question, your statistical object(s) of interest, your identification strategy (if applicable), your data issues (missing data, sample selection, etc.), your possible estimators, etc. If it’s methodological, explain the research question, any relevant existing method, the desired results, your conjectures, etc. If you’d appreciate more specific guidelines, just ask me (well ahead of time) after providing some basic description of your current research (or lack thereof).

5 Important Dates to Remember

See the Provost’s Academic Calendar and the Registrar’s Academic Calendar, including various deadlines.

6 Academic Integrity

As will be the case after you graduate, in this class, collaboration with other students as well as use of whatever resources you can find (books, papers, tutorials, etc.) is permitted and encouraged. The only “exception” is that you must each submit your own ES, i.e., you can’t just put multiple names on the same exact write-up.

As will also be the case after you graduate, even with so many resources allowed, academic integrity is taken very seriously. If you use something, then cite it, whether a paper, book, person, or URL. If you collaborate with other students, cite them (note their names on your submission). If you’re not sure whether to cite something, err on the side of including too many citations. I won’t fail you for forgetting, but it’s a good opportunity to practice taking it seriously because in academia, even unintentional plagiarism may be punished harshly (whether formally or informally, e.g., by lowering a referee’s esteem of your submitted paper).

Last updated: 5 May 2020