Here are my slides for that talk, in which I explain why I tweet and blog, and provide some tips for those who are thinking about doing the same.
Speaking of the Dyson School’s graduate students, some of them have just started a new blog on international development called Economics that Really Matters, in a nod to Theodore Schultz’s 1979 Nobel lecture. I highly recommend that you check it out if you have an interest agriculture, development, and food policy. You can check it out here.
It is the gap between theory and practice [of econometrics] that has given me a ton of grief in the last few years. After spending hours and hours in graduate school working through tons of theorems and proofs to basically restate everything I learned as an undergraduate in a more rigorous tone, I found that when it came to actually doing econometrics I wasn’t much the better, or sometimes wondered if maybe I even regressed. [Note: Ha! – MFB.] At every corner was a different challenge that seemed at odds with everything I learned in grad school. Doing econometrics felt like running in water. As Peter Kennedy states in the applied econometrics chapter of his popular A Guide to Econometrics, “econometrics is much easier without data.” As Angrist and Pischke state: “if applied econometrics were easy theorists would do it.”
I frequently run into “determinants” papers. Typically, a student in the second-year qualifying research paper seminar I teach in our PhD program will submit a paper proposal that is a “determinants” paper. More frequently, however, I see “determinants” papers when new manuscripts are assigned to me for handling at Food Policy.
“What’s a ‘determinants’ paper?,” you ask? A “determinants” paper is a paper in which the authors do not specifically try to answer a question of the form “Does X cause Y?” Continue reading →