Office: 128 Skinner 538-2215
Office Hours: MW 9-11 and by appointment.
(I am usually around so feel free to stop by.)
Text: Pindyck and Rubinfeld, Econometrics Models and Economic Forecasts, Irvin McGraw Hill.
Objectives: This course is an extension of previous work in statistics with emphasis on estimation and statistical inference. Students will be exposed to econometric theory and applications of econometric techniques. The classical regression model will be examined along with its problems. SPSS will be the primary programming language used. The course goal is for each student to competently employ regression techniques as research tools and to justify and defend the techniques used.
Lab: Each week a computer lab will be held to aid the students in the use of the computer. Problem sets to be done in lab will be handed out each Wednesday and due the following Wednesday. Absolutely no late problem sets will be accepted. They must be in by class on Wednesday.
Requirements: Lab Reports (Weekly) 10%
Mid-term (March 12) 30%
Second Mid-Semester Exam 30%
Final Paper 30%
The above percentages are suggested and will be adjusted to your benefit if necessary.
Attendance (though not counted per se as part of the grade) will be very important!
Research Paper: You should select a topic related to some economic issue or problem you have been exposed to in another course and one that interests you. One idea would be to select a published piece of empirical research and redo the analysis with new data or a slightly different model. Often authors may be willing to provide you with the data from their study if you write and explain your interest. An advantage of this approach is the ease with which you can compare your results with those of the original study. We also have a great deal of data available in the department and the Web is an excellent data source. Some example papers can be found at the following URL http://www.mtholyoke.edu/~mirobins/320papers.html
Consult me if you need help with a topic.
A one-page report on the topic with bibliography should be handed in before Spring Break (Please turn in 2 copies - one for me and one to be returned). First drafts are due by April 26 and final papers are due by the end of the semester. Students will be required to present their results in conference format during the final few days of class. Some extra class sessions may be necessary to provide adequate time for the presentations. Group projects are appropriate and encouraged. You should early on form a group of 2 or 3 for your project.
and Readings Listed below are subjects and corresponding text readings for the semester.
1. Least Squares and Introduction Jan. 28-Feb. 6
2. The Multiple Regression Model Feb. 11-20
3. Heteroskedasticity and Serial Correlation Feb. 25 - March 6
Midsemester Exam March 8-10
4. Model Specification March 11-13
5. Qualitative Dependent Variables March 25-27
6. Panel Data April 1 - 3
7. Simultaneous Systems April 8-10
Second Exam April 12-14
8. Forecasting and Simulation April 15
Chapters 8, 13, 14
9. Maximum likelihood estimation April 17
8. Advanced Topics - Time Series April 22-24
9. Student Presentations April 26 - May 6
Final Paper due by the end of finals
Friday 4th Hours
Fridays 11-11:50 (and 10-10:50) have been set aside as a 4th hour for extra discussions, computer instruction, and help with problem sets and papers. The following is the initial tentative schedule of 4th hours. We will be meeting in Carr 101 for the computer lab assistance.
Paper Topics and Data Sources
Choosing a topic.
Develop a hypothesis. From other classes. Talking to faculty. From the Newspaper. Check out Econlit for what others have done.
The economics department and myself maintain a number of data sources. While you may not want to choose a paper topic simply by the availability of the data, knowing the available data may help you know which projects are feasible and which are not feasible.
National Longitudinal Survey of Youth. 12,000 in the sample who were 14-21 in 1979 followed through the 1990s. Lots of great data for most any labor market study. Also lots of sociological kinds of questions regarding drug and alcohol use, religion, time use.
Topics: Effect of working on the time allocation of women towards childcare.
Effect of union status on earnings.
PADI: Data on wages, employment, exports and imports for Latin America by sector.
Baccalaureate and Beyond. Data on 1993 college graduates in 1997.
World Tables. All the world tables data. Annual data from many countries around the world.
Impact of various factors on economic growth.
The college has access to the ICPSR, which is a very large number of datasets. See the library’s web page at
In addition a large amount of data is available from the Web. For information on this data....see internet resources at http://netec.wustl.edu/~adnetec/WebEc/.
Most Macro data, Current Population Survey (includes many interesting surveys), 1990 Census (lots of data good for studying a specific occupation).