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Predictions: Using Statistics to Foresee the Future

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Course DatesWeeksMeeting TimesStatusInstructor(s)CRN
June 20, 2016 - July 08, 20163M-F 12:15-3:05POpen10671

Course Description

Presidential elections, college grades, football games, extramarital affairs, interest rates. What do all of these topics have in common? They can all be explained and analyzed using the tools of Econometrics and Statistics. Did you ever wonder how Nate Silver reaches his election predictions? Did you watch <i>Moneyball</i> and wonder how it was possible for an economist to take the Oakland Athletics to a 20 game winning streak? Are you curious how the central bank comes up with forecasts for interest rates and inflation? These are some of the topics we will be discussing in this course.

This class is an introduction to quantitative research in the social sciences. However, the focus will be on its applications rather than the econometric theory itself. We will generally start by proposing a theory, followed by gathering data, and then using this data to test our theory. We will then address potential pitfalls and critically evaluate our results. Finally, we will discuss implications of and predictions from our results. In other words, we will be moving from a general idea of how something works to a specific prediction of what it will be like in the future.

By the end of the course, students will be able to:<ul><li>Conduct some basic data analyses</li><li>Critically evaluate the conclusions and predictions drawn from the analysis of data and recognize potential pitfalls</li></ul>

<p>This class does not require any formal prerequisites and all necessary concepts will be introduced as we go along. However, even though the main focus will be on the applications, some affinity with mathematics will be helpful.

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