The home page for Public Policy 504 is http://fhss.byu.edu/polsci/Goodliffe/504/. Check the home page often for announcements, corrections, instructions for assignments, syllabus, etc. You should also check your email regularly. I suggest that you exchange phone numbers and/or email addresses with other students in the class.
I will hold office hours on Monday and Wednesday 11 a.m. to 12 noon. I am also available at most other times if you make arrangements with me. Feel free to talk to me after classes, or to contact me by email or voice mail. I encourage you to come by to talk about assignments in the class, suggestions for improving the class, politics and current events, the perils of student life, or for any other reason.
This course explores advanced topics in econometrics, building on basic linear regression. This course is designed to help you
This is the second semester in a twocourse sequence. The first semester was PPol 503 or Stat 511, and is thus a prerequisite for this course. That course covered basic statistics and ordinary least squares. Econ 388 or PlSc 328 may substitute for these, although there will be some overlap between those courses and this course. If you have not taken one of these courses, you need to speak to me before proceeding.
Given the small class size, this will not be a rigidly structured course. I welcome your input in determining what subjects we discuss, and how and when we cover them. There are some topics that we must cover, but others are flexible. We will be emphasizing application and interpretation over theory. Thus, in addition to the textbook, we will read articles that apply these methods to problems in public policy.
The course will be run primarily as a lecture. However, I actively encourage questions, interruptions, cries for help, protests of disbelief, etc. You will never be penalized for participatingeven when this takes the form of vague complaints like, "I've got no clue why we are doing this stuff!" I urgeindeed, I expectyou to take advantage of the chance to talk with me during office hours.
A Chinese proverb (supposedly) says, "I hear and I forget, I see and I remember, I do and I understand." This philosophy drives the requirements of the class.
Weekly Assignments 
30% 
Midterm Exam 
15% 
Final Exam 
30% 
Research Project 
25% 
All assignments are due at the beginning of class on the day designated in the course schedule. If you cannot make it to class, please leave the assignment with the department secretaries (in the Political Science office745 SWKT) before class begins. Alternatively, you may email me the assignment. I will not accept late assignments. The primary reason for no late assignments is so that we can discuss the assignment in class immediately after it is turned in. If you anticipate a problem with submitting an assignment when it is due, speak to me before the assignment is due so that we can try to work out an alternative arrangement.
To understand statistics, you must use statistics. To facilitate understanding, there will be weekly assignments that may include any or all of the following:
You may work together on these assignments (in groups of two or at most three), but you must write up your answers separately. I give much more detailed instructions on how to report your work together in the Academic Honesty section below. Generally, if you use other persons' work, or make changes to your own work without inquiring or understanding what you did incorrectly, then you are trying to get a grade using someone else's knowledge. Giving or receiving answers in this manner is not permitted in this course. If you do not learn how to analyze or solve problems on your own, you will have difficulty on the exams and research project. Generally, weekly assignments will be distributed on Fridays at the end of class.
There are midterm and final exams. These are both takehome exams that you will have one week to finish. They will require you to solve problems similar to those in the weekly assignments. You are not allowed to consult with anyone on these takehome exams (except the instructor). The date for the midterm exam is tentatively given below. The final exam will cover material for the whole semester. The final exams may be picked up in the Political Science office (745 SWKT) after they are graded. The exams will be discarded at the end of the Summer 2005 term.
Students will write and present a paper on a topic of their choosing. The project will allow you the opportunity to apply the skills that we will develop in this class to actual data and problems. You may pursue any topic of your choice, subject to instructor approval. (Of course, one requirement is that you have the necessary data.) There are a number of deadlines that must be met, noted on the course schedule.
I strongly recommend that you consult with me and the teaching assistant through all phases of your research. I may be able to help you select a feasible topic, find data, or comment on your statistical model.
Proposal 
2% 
Outline and Bibliography 
3% 
Preliminary Analysis of Data 
5% 
Peer Review Draft 
10% 
Presentation 
20% 
Final Paper 
60% 
Turn in a (no longer than) onepage proposal outlining the research question you wish to address, and how you plan to address it. Discuss why the research question is interesting, and possible data sources.
Turn in a (no longer than) twopage outline of your paper sketching out the argument you plan to make and/or hypotheses you will test, and how you will do it. Include an annotated bibliography of sources whose work you build on. Also list where you have obtained your data.
Turn in a (no longer than) fourpage paper that gives a more detailed outline of your paper. This should also include a detailed description of your argument and statistical model (including what variables you use) and some relevant descriptive statistics for your data. You must have your data by this point.
Each student will distribute his or her paper to an assigned student for peer evaluation. (In one of the weekly assignments, each student will evaluate a peer's paper, and return it with an evaluation sheet. Each peers will also give a grade to the instructor only. Finally, each author will grade his or her peer on how well he or she was able to constructively criticize author's arguments, and give specific suggestions on how to strengthen those arguments.) After incorporating the appropriate suggestions and criticisms, students will turn in their final paper (see below).
All students will present their research during the last week or two of class. The presentation's technical level should be geared toward a generic public servantyou will have to explain what your statistical results mean. There will be a strict time limit, and you should be prepared to answer questions from the class and instructor. Further suggestions on presentations generally can be found here.
The paper's technical level may be higher than the presentation's. However, you should still explain what your statistical results mean in layman's terms. In grading the paper, I will consider how well you have used material from the course, how well you have used statistical analysis to test your hypotheses, if the analysis is actually correct (numerical accuracy and correct interpretation), how well you use charts and graphs, logic and organization of the paper, and the usual grammatical and spelling concerns. More detailed instructions can be found here. The papers may be picked up in the Political Science office (745 SWKT) after they are graded. The papers will be discarded at the end of the Summer 2005 term.
From the BYU 20042005 Undergraduate Catalog:
From the BYU 20042005 Graduate Catalog:
Putting these statements together, the university expects an average graduate student to work more than 9 hours a week in a 3 credithour course. This is my expectation as well.
This workload has been affirmed by President Bateman in his devotional addresses. On 7 September 1999, he stated, "It takes approximately three hours of study outside class for every hour in the classroom. If you take 15 hours of credit, you should allocate upward of 45 hours for study per week." On 19 September 2000, he advised, "Study dailyat least three hours for every hour in class."
Students who have succeeded in this course have the following characteristics. They
From the Academic Honesty section of the BYU Honor Code: "The first injunction of the BYU Honor Code is the call to `be honest.' Students come to the university not only to improve their minds, gain knowledge, and develop skills that will assist them in their life's work, but also to build character. `President David O. McKay taught that character is the highest aim of education' (The Aims of a BYU Education, p. 6). It is the purpose of the BYU Academic Honesty Policy to assist in fulfilling that aim.
"BYU students should seek to be totally honest in their dealings with others. They should complete their own work and be evaluated based upon that work. They should avoid academic dishonesty and misconduct in all its forms, including but not limited to plagiarism, fabrication or falsification, cheating, and other academic misconduct." Read the full version here (parts attached to the original paper syllabus).
A colleague (Mitch Sanders, formerly of Notre Dame) has already explicated these issues specifically for social sciences. Please read here (also attached to the original paper syllabus).
If you write a paper for another course (past or present) that uses the same topic as a paper for this course, you need to approve it with me first, and then you must turn in to me a copy of the paper from your other course.
In this class, you need to acknowledge the contributions of others toward your assignments. I have taken the following guidelines from MIT's Unified Engineering class. I have changed various words where appropriate:
"The fundamental principle of academic integrity is that you must fairly represent the source of the intellectual content of the work you submit for credit. In the context of [PPol 504], this means that if you consult other sources (such as fellow students, TA’s, faculty, literature) in the process of completing homework [(or Stata codes)], you must acknowledge the sources in any way that reflects true ownership of the ideas and methods you used.
"Discussion among students to understand the homework problems or to prepare for [exams] is encouraged.
"COLLABORATION ON HOMEWORK IS ALLOWED UNLESS OTHERWISE DIRECTED AS LONG AS ALL REFERENCES (BOTH LITERATURE AND PEOPLE) USED ARE NAMED CLEARLY AT THE END OF THE ASSIGNMENT. Wordbyword copies of someone else’s solution or parts of a solution handed in for credit will be considered cheating unless there is a reference to the source for any part of the work which was copied verbatim. FAILURE TO CITE OTHER STUDENT’S CONTRIBUTION TO YOUR HOMEWORK SOLUTION WILL BE CONSIDERED CHEATING.
"Study groups are considered an educationally beneficial activity. However, at the end of each problem on which you collaborated with other students you must cite the students and the interaction. The purpose of this is to acknowledge their contribution to your work. Some examples follow:
Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 prohibits sex discrimination against any participant in an educational program or activity that receives federal funds. The act is intended to eliminate sex discrimination in education. Title IX covers discrimination in programs, admissions, activities, and studenttostudent sexual harassment. BYU’s policy against sexual harassment extends not only to employees of the university but to students as well. If you encounter unlawful sexual harassment or gender based discrimination, please talk to your professor; contact the Equal Employment Office at 4225895 or 3675689 (24hours); or contact the Honor Code Office at 4222847.
Brigham Young University is committed to providing a working and learning atmosphere which reasonably accommodates qualified persons with disabilities. If you have any disability which may impair your ability to complete this course successfully, please contact the University Accessibility Center (4222767). Reasonable academic accommodations are reviewed for all students who have qualified documented disabilities. Services are coordinated with the student and instructor by the UAC office. If you need assistance or if you feel you have been unlawfully discriminated against on the basis of disability, you may seek resolution through established grievance policy and procedures. You should contact the Equal Employment Office at 4225895, D282 ASB.
All readings should be read before class for full understanding of the subject material.
There are two required books that are available for purchase at the bookstore (or any number of online bookstores, see AllBookStores.com or Campusbooks4less.com for a listing of bookstores and comparison of prices):
I have placed Liao on reserve at the Lee Library.
There is another statistical book that is available for purchase:
The Kennedy book has a different approach than most statistics texts: in each chapter it discusses a set of concepts qualitatively, then the same concepts quantitatively, and finally discusses the minutiae of those concepts. (The 2nd edition, published in 1985, is on reserve at the library.) I would be happy to recommend other texts if you find these inadequate.
There are two additional statistical books on reserve at the library to help with the Stata computer program.
There are other articles we will read that are available through links below. These articles are examples of policy analyses using the tools we are learning:
Most Fridays will be spent in the FHSS Computer Lab on the 1st floor. We will learn how to do basic and advanced statistics in Stata and basic statistics in SAS. We also will do some statistics in SPSS and Excel. This is to increase flexibility and marketability for future work opportunities. Each week, the lab will cover the commands necessary to do the weekly assignments. I expect all students to have a working knowledge of the Windows operating system (i.e., what backslashes mean, how to use a mouse, how to use pulldown menus, etc.).
Please arrive in the Computer Lab (112 SWKT) before class starts to start up the computer and have everything ready to go when class starts.
If you wish to purchase your own copy of Stata, the College Computing Center has set up a student license to purchase here.
Class starts at 8:00 a.m. I realize that this is early. Please arrive on time to class so that we may end on time.
Note: W=Wooldridge; K=Kennedy.
Date 
Topic 
Readings 
Assignments 

January 5 
Data, Statistics, and Policy Analysis  W:1 (K:1) 

7 
Computer Class  
10 
Bivariate and Multiple Regression  W:23 (K:3) Henry and Rubenstein 

12 
Inference  W:45 (K:4) Wise 

14 
Computer Class 


17 
No classMartin Luther King Day 


19 
Functional Forms  W:6 (K:6) Crandall and Graham 
Project Proposal Due 
21 
Computer Class 


24 
Dummy Variables  W:7 (K:14) Waldfogel 

26 
Heteroskedasticity  W:8 (K:8) Hamermesh and Parker 

28 
Computer Class  
31 
Specification  W:9 (K:5) Blackburn and Neumark 

February 2 
Logit/Probit  Liao:13, W:7,17 (K:15) Fairlie and London 
Project Outline Due 
4 
Computer Class  
7 
Ordinal and Nominal Logit/Probit  Liao:47 Mitchell 

9 
Panel Models  W:13 (K:17) Grabowski and Morrisey 

11 
Computer Class  
14 
Panel Models  W:14 Coates and Humphreys 

16 
Review 


18 
Computer Class  Midterm Exam Distributed  
21 
No classPresidents' Day 


NOTE! 22 
Instrumental Variables  W:15 (K:10) Gayer 

23 
Two Stage Least Squares  W:16 Ayres and Levitt 

25 
Computer Class  Midterm Exam Due  
28 
Two Stage Least Squares  
March 2 
Selection Bias  W:17 (K:16) Brown and Potoski 

4 
Computer Class  
7 
Selection Bias  Levitt and Porter  
9 
Program Evaluation: Experiments  Stock and Watson 11.111.4 Ludwig, Duncan, and Hirschfeld 

11 
Computer Class  
14 
Program Evaluation: QuasiExperiments  Stock and Watson 11.511.6 Bifulco, Duncombe, and Yinger 

16 
Program Evaluation: QuasiExperiments  Stock and Watson 11.711.8 Jacob and Lefgren 
Preliminary Analysis Due 
18 
Computer Class  
21 
Program Evaluation: QuasiExperiments  Bloom Dehejia and Wahba 

23 
Time Series  W:10 (K:9) 

25 
Computer Class  
28 
Time Series  W:11 (K:18)  Project Peer Draft Due 
30 
Time Series  W:12 LewisBeck and Alford 

April 1 
Computer Class  
4 
Time Series  W:18  
6 
Review  Project Final Paper Due  
8 
Computer Class  
11 
Presentations 


13  Presentations  Final Exam Distributed  
20 


Final Exam Due 
Jay Goodliffe's home page
This page is http://fhss.byu.edu/polsci/Goodliffe/504/syllabus.htm