Prof. Nicola Viegi
This course aims at developing three fundamentals skills for a professional economist:
read, count and write
Read: doing research requires find the right question and read as much as you can to develop an understanding of what other economists have done before, what it means and what needs to be done.
Count: in most of your professional life you will be asked to look at data and extrapolate information from them – this is what you will be asked to do in this course. You will be asked to analyse and present a dataset. You will have to use basic econometric techniques, but more importantly you will have to learn to tell economic stories with them
Write: writing is what you
will do for the rest of your life. It doesn’t matter if you will work in
government, in the private sector or in academia, you will have to write and
communicate. Writing economics is not different from any other kind of writing:
it can be good or it can be bad. If it is bad, nobody will read it and you lose
your job. If it is good, you keep the job and somebody might also listen to
what you have to say.
Lecture 1 Introduction to the Course
Readings: 3 examples of good papers
Acemoglu et al (2001)The Colonial Origins of Comparative Development: An Empirical Investigation
Guidolin and La Ferrara (2007) Diamonds Are Forever, Wars Are Not: Is Conflict Bad for Private Firms?
Duflo and Pande (2007) Dams
Lecture 2: The Question
Lecture 3 Literature Review
Lecture 4 [pdf] Find the Data, Look at the Data, Present the Data
Ted Talk - David McCandless: The beauty of data visualization : about the importance of data visualization as a way to organize and present information.
South African Reserve Bank, - South African Macroeconomic Data
IMF World Economic Outlook Dataset, A large variety of world data used by the IMF for it world forecast 9relatively short term
Penn World Tables – Data on a large number of countries, made comparable across countries, mainly macroeconomics and long term growth.
Lecture 5 [pdf] The Foundations of Econometric analysis or how to torture the data.
Lecture 6 [pdf] Writing
Three things to read carefully that will help your writing better papers:
D. McCloskey “Economical Writing”
George Orwell “Politics and the English Language”
Cochrane “Writing Tips for PhD’s”
George Orwell – Five basic Rules of Good Writing (in English) (From “Politics and the English Language, 1946)
1. Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print .
2. Never use a long word where a short one will do.
3. If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out .
4. Never use the passive where you can use the active.
5. Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent
6. Break any of these rules sooner than say anything out right barbarous.