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POEC 253
Empirical Methods in Political Economy Fall 2020
Division II Quantative/Formal Reasoning

Class Details

This course introduces students to common empirical tools used in policy analysis and implementation. The broad aim is to train students to be discriminating consumers of public policy-relevant research. The emphasis in the course is on intuitive understanding of the central concepts. Through hands-on work with data and critical assessment of existing empirical social scientific research, students will develop the ability to choose and employ the appropriate tool for a particular research problem, and to understand the limitations of the techniques. Topics to be covered include basic principles of probability; random variables and distributions; statistical estimation, inference and hypothesis testing; and modeling using multiple regression, with a particular focus on understanding whether and how relationships between variables can be determined to be causal–an essential requirement for effective policy formation. Throughout the course, the focus will be on public policy applications relevant to the fields of political science, sociology, and public health, as well as to economics.
The Class: Format: lecture; The class will be remote. I will present the material using a mix of synchronous and asynchronous methods. We will use the synchronous time for discussion and Q and A as well.
Limit: 20
Expected: 15
Class#: 2567
Grading: yes pass/fail option, yes fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: Problem sets, group project, midterm exam, final exam
Prerequisites: MATH 130 or its equivalent; one course in ECON; not open to students who have taken ECON 255
Enrollment Preferences: Political Economy majors, Environmental Policy majors and sophomores
Unit Notes: does not satisfy the econometrics requirement for the Economics major; POEC 253 cannot be substituted for ECON 255, or count as an elective towards the Economics major
Distributions: Division II Quantative/Formal Reasoning
QFR Notes: The course teaches econometrics, i.e. statistics as economists use it, with applications in economics and political science.
Attributes: EVST Methods Courses
PHLH Statistics Courses
POEC Required Courses

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