A wide range of topics is acceptable. It must involve some econometric estimation or related statistical procedure. Check for the availability of data early on.



Topics, Data, and Report

    A wide range of topics is acceptable. It must involve some econometric estimation or related statistical procedure. Check for the availability of data early on.

    In some cases the topic can be the same as, or similar to, the topic for a project you are doing in another course. If so, this must be approved by the instructor of that other course and by me. Expectations for such a paper are higher.

    I provided some links to data sets in a previous file.

    A proposal is due November 14. It is about a one page proposal describing the research question, data sources, and econometric method that you anticipate using. This also is a good time to clarify if this project is related to the projects for other courses. You still can change your project topic after this if necessary.

    A progress report is due November 28. It is one or two pages describing what you have done on the project since handing in the proposal. This is an opportunity to think about and describe any problems that you are having. If you have part of the paper written, you can hand it in for feedback, even if it is very preliminary.


    Although advanced econometric techniques can be used, it is not necessary to do so. OLS is mostly sufficient. If a well-known econometric method is used, it is not necessary to describe the theoretical econometric details (e.g. the variance formula) in the paper.

    The emphasis of the project can vary. Here are some possibilities.

    A critical summary of the existing work on a topic, followed by your own econometric results.

    A report based closely on research reported elsewhere. Compare their results with yours and try to explain the difference. Your  data may be from a different country,  or cover a different time period, for example. You might even use the same data set, but use a different econometric approach.


    Emphasize the data collection process. This is appropriate if a lot of effort or ingenuity was required to compile it.



You can get an idea of the usual format from browsing through economics journals such as The Review of Economics and Statistics. It is usually 15 to 30 pages double-spaced. It can be longer if the extra length is to accommodate tables, graphs or appendices. The paper is divided into sections, often something like this.

Abstract A paragraph to summarize the research question and your main results.


1. Introduction The economic issue is stated in words. The motivation is given here for your own contribution. At the end of this section, briefly summarize the contents of the rest of the paper, section-by-section.

2. The economic model and/or literature review If there is an economic model that underlies the econometric model, it is presented here in more detail, both in words and in mathematical form if appropriate. Other people’s work is referenced, their findings are noted, and your own approach is presented.

3. Data and econometric approach Describe the data, definition of variables, any data problems, how they were collected, etc. It is good to present summary statistics of the data, e.g. plots or tables of time series, means, st.devs, mins and maxes of variables in large data sets. The econometric approach, along with any estimation and model specification issues, are discussed.

4. Results Coefficient estimates, specification tests, etc. with tables, are presented and interpreted in light of the issues mentioned in the introduction.

5. Conclusion A summary of what you did and the major findings. You could also suggest directions for further research coming from your work.

References A list of the papers and books that you have referred to in the paper, ordered alphabetically by first author’s last name (APA reference format).

Tables, Figures and Appendices If there are any, they can be put at the end. Appendices are handy if you have some background information or results that might be of interest to some readers, but are not central enough to belong in the main part of the paper.

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