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Master

Introduction to Research

2018



Prof. Nicola Viegi

nicola.viegi@up.ac.za

 

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.

 

1

Read

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

 

2

Count

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.

 

Data Sources

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.

3

Write

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.