This course will teach you the value of using statistical methods to make and evaluate causal claims. After this course you will be able to: (1) distinguish between correlation and causality (if A happens before B, it must be that A caused B?!); (2) do your own experiments (you will be encouraged to do so); (3) figure out whether an economic policy really works (e.g., does mandatory health insurance improve health outcomes?); and (4) tell when a research paper in the social sciences is actually good science in that it proves its hypothesis and when it is just a good guess. In one sentence, this course will change the way you think about cause and effect.
The course will cover the following:
Randomized and natural experiments
Regression and covariate adjustment with matching
Regression discontinuity design
Differences-in-differences and panel data
Evaluating the plausibility of as-if random
Heterogenous treatment effects
How to design an experiment?
The course can be used as a semester-long course and as part of summer school programs. The software packages for the course are both Stata and R.
Angrist, Joshua, and Pischke, Jorn-Steffen (2015) Mastering Metrics. The Path from Cause to Effect. Princeton University Press
Angrist, Joshua, and Pischke, Jorn-Steffen (2009) Mostly Harmless Econometrics. Princeton University Press
Dunning, Thad (2012) Natural Experiments in the Social Sciences. Cambridge University Press
Gerber, Alan and Green, Donald (2012) Field Experiments. WW Norton
A practical framework for understanding macro. How to think like an economist - and when not to - in order to become a better investor.
How to use macro in practice to improve your investment decisions. Knowing where to look in order to anticipate changing economic conditions, and how to position yourself for it.
Understand what happens to your portfolio when central banks raise rates. Or which currency to keep your money in. Or why does the yield curve invert.
How to avoid the traps in macro. Macro is mostly about correlations, not causality. You'll learn when to trust it and when it's better to avoid its pitfalls.
You'll use the same framework I use in understanding all things econ. This will teach you how to think like an economist, and how to know when to trust macro and when not to.
Module 1: The basic macro model You will walk out with a plug-n-play framework for understanding what happens when the Fed raises rates, or when governments increase spending.
Module 2: International finance You will walk out with a plug-n-play framework for understanding exchange rate impacts, imports and exports, and international finance.
Module 3: The BS macro – everything that’s wrong with macro You’ll get a good idea of when to trust macro and when not to trust it.
Module 4: More macro gone wrong You will walk out with an understanding of why macro models fail, what drives inflation, and the boom-and-bust cycle.
Module 5: Applying the knowledge You’ll walk out with a functioning knowledge of how macro impacts your portfolio and how to protect yourself from macro fluctuations.
Graduation day: student presentations You will present an overview of an economy (of your choice) over the next 6 to 12 months.
Causal Inference (Oxford Q-Step Centre)
This course (graduate level) introduces students to the statistics of causal inference. The objective is to learn how to make and evaluate causal claims. It starts with randomized experiments and then discusses techniques for learning about effects from observational data. In addition to experiments, the focus is on four main techniques of causal inference: - Covariate adjustment via regression and matching - Instrumental variables - Difference-in-differences - Regression discontinuity design By the end of the course, students should be able to apply each of these methods and critically evaluate research based on them. Students apply the techniques in lab sessions, and the main software package we use for teaching is R.
Macroeconomics and Financial Markets (Luxembourg School of Business)
This course offers a broad introduction to some key issues in current economic and financial debates, such as macroeconomic policy in an era of low interest rates, high debt ratios and low productivity growth. The aim of this course is to enable participants to better understand the background to these problems and how they may be mitigated through economic policy. Throughout the course, modern analytical tools will be used to address these issues. Intuition and real-world applications are prioritized over formal models and technical details. The reading material is based on textbook chapters, articles from international journals and reports from respected policy institutions and think-tanks. All sessions will comprise elements of both lectures and discussion.
Participants completing this course are expected to be able to understand and explain a number of economic phenomena, such as (a) economic behaviour in the goods, financial and labour markets, in very big rather closed as well as in small open economies, and (b) macroeconomic (fiscal policy, monetary policy, financial stability policy) responses to macroeconomic fluctuations and how such responses affect firms and households.
Political Economy (ZSEM)
In this masters level course I cover advanced concepts of public choice theory and positive political economy. The course is focused on helping the students understand the big picture behind policy formation, the political process and their effect on the real economy. Topics include voting, models of electoral competition, the principal agent problem in politics, electoral accountability, optimal size of taxation, redistribution and government spending, interest groups and lobbying, the logic of collective action, and the role of institutions in economic development and policy-making. In addition to the technically advanced master level module, there is a light option of the course available for fourth year undergraduates and summer school students.
Principles of Economics (ZSEM)
The Principles course I teach are seminars in English where I cover a variety of topics outside the standard curriculum aimed at better equipping the students with some elementary knowledge of economics. Topics tend to vary from introductory game theory simulations, supply and demand in action, inequality, alternative monetary policy, the crisis and the recovery, and even economics of football. It is a good way of introducing first year undergraduates to applications of some basic economic concepts.
International Economics (ZSEM)
A standard fourth year undergraduate level course covering the issues of international trade and international finance. From the concepts of comparative advantage to tariffs and quotas, the international trade part explains why trade is important, and how it drives economic growth and economic imbalances between nations. The international finance part explains the role of global financial flows in macroeconomic outcomes whilst providing the students a deeper understanding of the connection between exchange rates, interest rates and money.
Public Finance (ZSEM)
This second year undergraduate course introduces the students to the basic concepts behind market and government inefficiencies. Why and how markets fail and more importantly why and how governments fail in correcting for inefficient market outcomes? It explains the three basic roles of public finance: allocation, stabilization and redistribution, through which it touches upon the theories of optimal taxation and the tax system, government spending and redistribution, and the ever hot topic of debts and deficits.