Economics 383H: Introduction to Empirical Methods in Microeconomics

  • What is this course about? The following overview should help clarify this.
  • Teaching Notices

  • December 12, 2014:

    If you haven't managed to track down Sims (2008), it is HERE.

    Good luck with your remaining preparation.

    I have posted the brief `Course Design' Assignment on Turnitin (worth 2 percent of the overall grade). Given the stated goal of introducing students to applied econometrics research and giving them the necessary skills so that they can read academic papers in the area, how would you structure a one-semester course that achieved those ends? How might the current course format be modified, and (if so) why? [Two paragraphs should be sufficient.]

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  • December 7, 2014:

    Please find HERE some tips on preparing for the final exam.

    Here are some sample questions to help you prepare for the final exam.

    Just let me know if anything is unclear.

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  • December 4, 2014:

    The writing assignment is HERE. I would like you to study both papers carefully, and answer the questions. The submission deadline is the start of the final exam.

    Please let me know if you have any questions.

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  • November 28, 2014:

    The following note on change-of-variables is somewhat advanced. But it should be of interest. The example at the end shows an important result using the method.

    I will post the short questions on K&W (2001) shortly.

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  • November 24, 2014:

    I want everyone to study the following material carefully:

    There are two lots of notes on omitted variables bias. The first, handwritten, note expands on our class discussion, giving more detailed examples of possible omitted `X' variables. (This note covers all the relevant cases, and also provides more of the algebra and intuition.) Please make sure you understand the discussion -- it is very important for this course and econometrics more generally.

    The second lot is intended to supplement the class notes -- see HERE. It goes into experiments also, relevant to the short writing assignment, now posted below.

    The following handwritten note expands on our class discussion of the power of a test. It should be useful.

    Finally, a paper!

    Please read Krueger and Whitmore’s Economic Journal (2001) paper, the working paper version of which is posted at:

    We will discuss in class on Thursday.

    Here is an old (but useful) reader's guide to K&W (2001). It should help, alongside the paper (posted above).

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  • November 11, 2014: Term Test (etc.)

    Slightly new look website, folks, by popular demand! (I have inserted a couple more spaces, increased the font size towards the top somewhat and am currently studying some html to try and make this all more readable.)

    I will try to post the solutions to the recent inclass test tonight. If not, HERE are the solutions to last year's inclass test. It covers similar ground.

    Please attempt the following questions related to noise and randomness. I have posted fairly complete solutions HERE. (Note that the Bouns Question at the end is quite advanced.)


  • November 10, 2014: Term Test

    For the term test, all of the notes up to the end of the last class are relevant. Please make sure you can derive the variance of b^{ols}, among other things. Please also ensure you know the formula for the expectation and variance of both discrete and continuous random variables etc. All that good stuff is in the notes.

    For practice, you might try the following sample term test questions from 2011. You should be able to answer pretty much all of these by referring to your notes. Let me know if you have any problems -- I am happy to provide hints (for instance, here). The test itself will be closed-book (i.e. no notes in the test).

    And here is the term test from 2012. You should be able to do all but Q6 at this stage.

    Good luck with your preparation, and let me know if you have any questions.


  • November 10, 2014: Some reading ...

    Building on our class discussion, please find attached the following note. It reviews three key properties of the OLS slope estimator.

    Then take a look at the attached short note on the four assumptions that we made in sequence. I hope everything is clear.

    I have also written the attached note that provides general background to the topic of hypothesis testing. This should supplement our class discussion -- see attached.

    And while we are at it, you might find the following short note (really, beyond the scope of this course) that discusses a truly remarkable theorem from statistics, called the Central Limit Theorem.


  • October 24, 2014:

    First, I would like to thank Haoxian for his carefully-constructed, absorbing presentation on Thursday. It was a veritable tour-de-force! Plus, it gave me some ideas, which I will try out on you next time.

    Second, I am attaching some notes here on continuous random variables, which I would like you to study carefully prior to the next class. (In an ideal world, I would have gone over them already, but I think they are self-explanatory.) The main operation you need to be familiar with involves taking an integral. This is simply the inverse of taking the derivative, so if you can differentiate, mathematically-speaking, so you can integrate. (Taking what are called definite integrals involves another step, but it is straightforward.)

    All that duly mastered, we will talk about uniform random variables, normal random variables, and E(b^ols) and Var(b^ols) next time -- fascinating and relevant stuff.


  • October 21, 2014:

    Building on our class discussion, please refer to the attached handwritten note that summarizes the properties of the expectation and variance operators.

    It is not a top priority now, but students were asking about the bonus assignment from two weeks ago. I will re-distribute copies on Thursday. As many people as possible should attempt this: it's like free money!

    Don't forget: we have an in-class test on Thursday.


  • October 19, 2014:

    You will find lots of practice questions below, under `Sample Questions.' Please attempt those.

    The Graduate Help Desk starts tomorrow. You can find Uros from 12-2pm in the `help desk' room on the third floor of the Innovation Complex. On Tuesday, Derek will be there from 9-11am.


  • October 14, 2014:

    Please find attached a note that builds on our discussion last class of noise. Next lecture, I will continue with this, and also discuss continuous random variables, which is where we need to go next.

    I won't usually post hand-written lecture notes, but I want everyone to have the following notes on curve fitting. Please make sure you understand every aspect of these -- it is such vital stuff that I will expect no less. Just let me know if you have any questions.

  • October 9, 2014:

    I will have the in-class quizzes back to you next class. Meanwhile, here are some more questions. Questions 2a) and 2b) are especially worth making sure you can do.

    And here are solutions to all the Quiz Practice Questions. Just let me know if anything is unclear.

    Presentations: We will discuss your ideas about assessing teaching next week. Please have that ready by the start of class -- 5:10pm. I am looking forward to seeing what you have come up with.

  • October 4, 2014:

    Please find attached some questions relating to our discussion of hypotheses (and expressing them mathematically). A couple of parts of these involve the use of graphical software. Matlab is the best, though Excel will work also.

    For those of you who are interested in trying, I will give bonus marks to anyone who works through the Lazear questions. (Students have tried them in past years, which I think is great.)

  • September 18, 2014:

    Building on our class discussion, please find attached a note that discusses hypotheses (and expressing them mathematically) in some detail. It then leads into econometrics, which we will continue with next week. Please read this over, and attempt the sample questions (including the diagrams).

  • September 18, 2014:

    In class, I referred to papers by Hanushek and Lazear. For those of you who are interested, they are posted at

    For those of you who wish to look at the Lazear paper more carefully, I wrote the following note on the paper (in .pdf format) earlier. You will see there are a couple of things to work through therein. Please note: this is beyond what I want to cover for the course: it will not be showing up on any test. But at least it would provide some mental exercise, if you feel the need ...

  • Sample Questions

  • October 19, 2014:

    The in-class test from 2012 is posted here. Please attempt this as though it is next week's test. Everything should be do-able, except Question 4 b) - g). (The solutions are here.)

    That year, there was a second, shorter, in-class test, posted here. Please attempt this also, except 3 b) onward(s). (The solutions are here.)

    And some other practice questions are posted here. (The solutions are here.)

    Please attempt the following sample question on discrete random variables. Solutions are posted on the second page.

  • October 5, 2014: Quiz Practice Questions

    Here are some practice questions relevant to the upcoming quiz.

    Just let me know if anything is unclear.

  • Writing Assignments

    Nothing yet...