There was only one mandatory course for us during the second semester – Environmental Policy – which means there were 22.5 credit points to be chosen freely. Since I hadn’t done much Econometrics during my Bachelor studies, I decided to focus on that over the course of the last spring semester. I.e. I made the bold choice to take Econometric Theory, Applied Econometrics and Topics in Econometrics. I apologize for this super long post, but I wanted to make sure to put everything up at least a week before the application deadline.
I started off with a more basic course in Econometric Theory, taught by Luca Di Repetto. Before actually covering econometric modelling, the first half of the course repeated some necessary basics from statistics. That was very helpful for everyone whose last statistics/econometrics classes dated way back – like me.
The statistics part covered some probability theory and large sample theory, but mainly random variables (discrete & continuous, bi- & multivariate). During the second half of the course we essentially looked at the Linear Regression Model (quite extensive), non-linear regression functions and limited dependent variable models (Linear Probability, Probit & Logit Model). So I guess if you already have a strong background in econometrics you might consider skipping this course. For everyone who hasn’t done econometrics or who needs a fresh-up I would really recommend this course though.
I don’t know if Luca is going to teach the class again this time, but I was very pleased to have him as a teacher. His lectures were very clear and concise and he was open-minded towards the students’ ideas. In addition to the lectures we had exercise sessions every week, where we applied the theories on exercises and some real life examples.
You can find the course page here!
Applied Econometrics was organized as a follow-up course on Econometric Theory. In the lectures we talked a lot about possible threats to external or internal validity of analyses – and how to avoid them; about panel data, fixed effects regression, instrumental variables regression and (quasi) experiments.
This course shifted from theory to practice in so far as the exercise sessions were now “computer labs”, where we learned how to use the statistical software STATA. Many people had already used STATA for their Bachelor theses or on other occasions, but some of us were completely new to it. Our teacher, Niklas Bengtsson, started more or less from scratch, but as the labs were not mandatory you could skip them if you were familiar with STATA. There were two voluntary assignments to collect points for the exam, which was really helpful. It “forced” me to actually sit down to practice and deal with the software.
Honestly, if what you want to do after your studies is in any way related to economics, you should be able to perform what we did in this course. In case you already know all the above mentioned things: that is awesome. If not, I strongly recommend you to take this class.
And this is the course page!
Topics in Econometrics
For everyone who didn’t have enough after the first two econometrics classes there was Topics in Econometrics. The teacher, Adrian Adermon, stated the purpose of the class as to be able to identify good research. So what we did was to look at many different articles and try to evaluate their approaches and methods. Usually, for the lectures Adrian would pick two or three papers to point out and explain specific problems or methodological issues. Those could be omitted factors, robustness of the results, data mining, use of weak instruments, publication bias, etc.
Adrian often designed the lectures a little more interactive by giving us a question or issue to discuss amongst each other. Also we sometimes saw really surprising results, so it was quite an interesting course.
Besides the lectures we all had to attend a seminar, where we were supposed to present a scientific paper or an associated replication of it, respectively. Then we discussed the problems of these papers in class. The topics were really diverse, ranging from taxation of cigarette consumption over marginal returns to medical care or the relationship between economic shocks and civil conflicts to the economic impacts of climate change.
Probably the greatest challenge in this course was that we had to do our own replication of a scientific paper. Here we could choose from several topics as well. I won’t lie: for me as a STATA beginner this was really, really hard! (At least there was no exam though!)
Looking back I am glad that I took this course, because I learned so much regarding the application of STATA. Even if you won’t use STATA after you finish your studies, this can come in handy at least for the Master thesis.
Here you can find the course page!
Apart from that let me know if you are interested in further details regarding any of these courses. I will try to answer your questions!