This course discusses the use of data to establish and quantify causal relationships between economic variables. We consider cross-sectional, as well as panel and time series data. The students learn to distinguish between causal relationships and correlations. An empirical analysis of a causal relationship requires a source of correlations and a source of exogenous variation.
This course introduces two econometric methods (ordinary least squares and instrumental variable regression) that exploit different sources of exogenous variation. The students learn about the role of control variables, measurement error and equilibrium conditions (simultaneous equations) in assessing the plausibility of an exogeneity assumption. They learn how to use the framework of statistical testing to account for the fact that a dataset does not contain 1) data on all relevant economic units, 2) measurements of all determinants of unit behavior. In addition to learning about the theoretical foundations of econometric methods, the students will learn how to apply them to real economic data. To this end, they will learn how to process and analyze economic data using a statistical software.