‘Metrics Monday: Regression and Causality for Dummies*

I do all of my teaching in the fall, which means that I have spent the last week and am spending this week preparing my teaching for the fall semester.

One of the classes that I teach is the Department’s undergraduate development class, formally titled Microeconomics of International Development.

Because the students in my class have heterogeneous levels of preparation when it comes to econometrics, I have them read two handouts aiming to give them a good intuitive understanding. One is a primer on linear regression, which teaches them how to read a table of regression results. The other is a primer on causality, which teaches them how to question the causal statements they are presented with and discusses a few of the ways causality can be disentangled from correlation. I make both handouts available here given that other instructors of classes relying on quantitative findings might find them useful.


* It should go without saying that I do not think of my students as dummies. But because there’s always someone whose sarcasm detector is broken, I should note that I am merely capitalizing here on the famous “for Dummies” book series…

Need Feedback on a Working Paper?

Starting mid-October, I will be teaching the second half-semester course (what we call a “mini” at Minnesota) in our graduate Trade and Development sequence. Mine will be the first of three minis on core topics in development micro.

One of the assignments in my class has students write two referee reports on current working papers in the broad area of development microeconomics.

If you have one or more working papers on which you would like feedback before the end of the calendar year, I would be happy to consider them for the pool of current working papers my students will pick from. Continue reading

Pre-Grad School Advice for Agricultural and Applied Economics

I received the following email:

I wanted to reach out to you, in the hopes that you could provide me some advice as a student considering a future in graduate work in Agricultural Economics. Ever since I began my undergraduate coursework, I always knew that an MS in Agricultural Economics was a possible future for me. Now … I am swiftly coming to the conclusion that a graduate degree in this space could really help me achieve my career ambitions, as well as open more doors.
Do you have any advice for a student considering a future in this field? Do you have any recommendations for undergraduate students preparing to apply to graduate studies in Ag or Applied Econ?

This was my response: Continue reading