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
– 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.
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.
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,
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
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.