Eco309 Statistics for Economists
Fall 2014
Dr. Robert Jantzen
Iona College - Economics

 
Where and When
Course Description
Course Objectives
Teaching Method
 Text, Resources and Stat Tables
Course Grading
Term Project
Course Outline
Course Software
 College Policies for All Students
 Announcements
Instructor Information


Where and When

In the Fall of 2014, this course meets at 9:30 a.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays in Amend 107.  Classes begin 8/27/14. 

Course Description

An introduction to the analytical and decision-making techniques of statistics specifically applied to the discipline of economics by case study and example.  This course also introduces model-building techniques and prepares the student for the study of econometrics.  3 Credits.

Course Objectives

The primary objective of this course is to impart to students a working knowledge of how statistics can be appropriately utilized to obtain, describe and draw inferences from data.  Specific objectives are contained in the homework assignments listed below.
Teaching Method:

This course will rely principally on lecture and discussion, augmented with Microsoft EXCEL and PHSTAT2 statistical programming demonstrations.
 

Text, Resources and Stat Tables:

 
Mark L. Berenson, David M. Levine, Timothy C. Krehbiel  Basic Business Statistics: Concepts and Applications (12th Ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2011 (ISBN 0132168383).  The text is available in hardcopy from the Iona Bookstore.  It is also available in hardcopy, softcover and E-Book (PDF) form from on-line retailers like Amazon.com. 

The Prentice Hall Companion Website for the12th edition of the textbook containing Powerpoint slides, extra web-cases, data files for most of the problems in the text and instructions for downloading and installing the PhStat statistical add-in can be found by clicking here.

Jantzen, R.,  "A Brief Guide to Statistical Inference," can be found by clicking here.

Jantzen, R., "A Brief Introduction to Multiple Regression," can be found by clicking here.

In addition, some common statistical tables used in the class can be found here.
 

Course Requirements and Grading:

Student grades in this course will reflect assessment in the following areas:

 Homeworks        (relative weight = .2)
 Exam # 1            (relative weight = .3)
 Exam # 2            (relative weight = .3)
 Final Exam         (relative weight = .3)
 Term Project      (relative weight = .3)

      The final course grade will be computed by taking the weighted average of the best 4 of the above 5 grades. Homework assignments will receive credit only if completed on time as scheduled.  Some homeworks will be assigned and completed during scheduled class meetings, hence students absent during those meetings will not receive credit for these homeworks.   Make-up exams will be available only to those students who have notified the instructor prior to the scheduled exam date ( a phone call to 637-2731 leaving a message is adequate).

      Academic dishonesty will be penalized heavily.  Plagiarism (the copying of text from other sources without the use of quotation marks) and/or cheating will result in a grade of F for the paper/exam involved.   In addition, students having excessive absences (10 or more) will receive the grade of FA (failed for absence).   Being late to a class will count as an absence.
 

Term Project:

The term project will require the student to analyze the relationships between some dependent variable and at least three explanatory variables.  Students may assemble data themselves or use one of the data bases described below.  The project must be submitted via email as a single document, double spaced, in a standard word processing format (i.e., MS-Word or Adobe Acrobat).   Charts and tables should be included in the body of the text, while additional statistical results generated by Excel should be included in an Appendix.

A.  Organization and Content:

     The following describes how the term project should be organized, and what information should be included in each section:

    Section                                                     Content
I.  Introduction Provide a brief overview of the term paper’s research objectives and findings.
II. Literature Review Provide a summary of the findings of at least one other study that has examined the behavior of the dependent variable(s) that is (are) the focus of the term paper.
III.  Data and Method  Provide a description of each of the variables in the study and how they are measured.  This section should also describe how each variable is distributed with appropriate descriptive tables, charts and statistics.  This section should also describe the statistical methods used for assessing whether a significant relationship exists between the dependent variable(s) and any of the explainers. The hypotheses being tested, statistics computed, and findings reported should be explained fully.  Any statistical programming "printouts" that form the basis for the analysis should be appended at the end of the paper.
IV.  Summary Provide a brief summary of the term project’s results and any policy implications they might impart.

B.  Data Bases:

     To satisfy the term project requirement, you must collect and analyze data of your own choosing.  The following websites provide data that can also be used to complete the term project:

  • Bill Goffe's Resources for Economists web page (click on the Data link) has numerous links to a wide variety of data for the US and other countries.
  • John Kane's Econometric Research Resources (click on the Data Sources link) provides links to a wide variety of data sources.
  • A particularly easy to use (& free) data repository of economic and financial time series can also be found at http://www.freelunch.com (they require an e-mail address to gain access).
  • FRED Economic Data from the FRB of St. Louis provides time series data for 45,000 series at the national, state and county levels.
  • Economagic.com Economic Time Series provides monetary, interest rate, stock price, exchange rate, employment and inflation time-series data for the US. 
  • The University of Virginia Fisher Library provides state, county and city data for many demographic and economic variables.
  • The US Census Bureau American Fact Finder provides detailed information at the state and county level for a wide variety of demographic and economic variables.
  • US Census Bureau Briefing Room is an easy-to-use US government source for current and historical data on 13 key economic indicators. The site also includes links to a wide variety of economic, demographic and financial datasets.
  • World Economic Outlook Database is a database that contains data on national accounts, inflation, unemployment rates, balance of payments, fiscal indicators, trade for countries and country groups (aggregates), and commodity prices whose data are reported by the IMF.  Data are available from 1980 to the present.
  • World Bank DataBank contains information for countries around the world, including education, poverty, financial flows, debt, health and nutrition, interest rates, production and employment.
  • Eurostat contains socio-economic data for European countries. Available series include financial, employment and production series as well as demographics (i.e., education, crime, health).
  • University of Auckland's OffStats provides access to free statistics from official sources on the web.
  • Human Development Reports is an independent publication commissioned by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).  This database contains links to information regarding democratic governance, economic security, pollution, social cohesion, public health, etc.
  • OECD ILibrary Statistics contains data on a wide variety of production, inflation, employment, health, education, environment, migration, banking and energy statistics for countries around the world.
  • Bureau of Economic Analysis website contains US data on GDP, trade, consumer spending, investment, profits, and the balance of payments.  It also contains some state and metro-level data.
  • US Census Bureau American Fact Finder website contains all kinds of economic and socio-economic data for states, counties and municipalities in the US.
  • The Bureau of Labor Statistics website contains data on employment, prices, wages, unemployment benefits, productivity, workplace injuries and international comparisons. 
  • Principal Global Indicators website contains data for differing countries on GDP, inflation, unemployment, consumer confidence, investment, debt, interest rates, oil prices and exchange rates.
  • International Monetary Fund Data and Statistics website has links to a variety of websites that contain economic and socioeconomic data.
  • OECD Statistics website contains a wide variety of economic, demographic and socioeconomic data for countries around the world.


Typical Course Sequence (tentative):
 
Week(s) Beginning:
Topic:
Reading:
Homework Assignment
8/25
Sample Design & Data Collection
Chapter 7
Homework 1
9/3 and 9/8
Describing Data in Tables and Charts
Chapter 2
Homework 2
9/15
Numerical Descriptive Measures
Chapter 3
Homework 3
9/22
Probability Basics
Chapters 4 & 5
Homework 4 and Homework 5
9/29
Exam # 1
10/6
Probability Distributions
Chapter 6
Homework 6
10/13
Confidence Intervals & Sample Sizes
Chapters 8
Homework 7
10/20
Univariate Tests
Chapter 9
Homework 8
10/27
Bivariate Tests: Numerical to Categorical Comparisons
Chapters 10 & 11
Homework 9 and Homework 10
11/3
Exam # 2
11/3
Bivariate Tests: Categorical to Categorical Comparisons
Chapter 10 & 12
Homework 11
11/10
Bivariate Tests: Numerical to Numerical Comparisons
Chapter 13
Homework 12
11/17 and 11/24
Multivariate Regression
Chapters 14 and 15
Homework 13 and Homework 14
12/1
Times Series Forecasting
 Chapter 16
Homework 16
12/8
Quality Management
Chapter 17
Homework 17
12/8
Exam # 3

Course Software:

This course will primarily rely on two programs (one bundled with the Levine text book) to conduct statistical analysis, namely Microsoft Excel and the PHSTAT2 add-in for Excel.  Both are relatively easy to use point-and-click programs that perform overlapping functions.  Students are free to use other software to complete assignments/exams (like MINITAB, BMDP, SPSS, etc.), but the instructor will not offer technical support for such programs.  For information on installing and using PHSTAT2, click here.
 

Instructor Information:
 
 
Instructor: Robert H. Jantzen, Ph.D.
Professor, Department of Economics
Office Location: Economics Department, Spellman Hall, 2nd floor
Office Hours: Monday & Wednesdays, 1:30 - 2:30 p.m.,  by appointment
Phone: (914) 637-2731
Fax: (914) 633-2511
E-Mail RJantzen@Iona.edu
Web-Page www.iona.edu/faculty/rjantzen/homepage.htm



 
College Policy for all courses and students: (full explanations of policy may be found in the College Catalog)

Plagiarism:  Is the unauthorized use or close imitation of the language and thoughts of another author/person and the representation of them as one's own original work.  Iona College policy stipulates that students may be failed for the assignment or course, with no option for resubmission or re-grading of said assignment.  A second instance of plagiarism may result in dismissal from the College.

Attendance:  All students are required to attend all classes.  Iona has an attendance policy for which all students are accountable.  While class absence may be explained it is never excused.  Professors may weigh class absence in the class grade as they see fit.  Failure to attend class may result in a failure of the class for attendance(FA), when the student has missed 20% or more of the total class meetings. The FA grade weighs as an F would in the final official transcript.

Course and Teacher Evaluation(CTE):  Iona College now uses an on-line CTE system.  This system is administered by an outside company and all of the data is collected confidentially.  No student name or information will be linked to any feedback received by the instructor.  The information collected will be compiled in aggregate form by the agency and distributed back to the Iona administration and faculty, with select information made available to students who complete the CTE.  Your feedback in this process is an essential part of improving our course offerings and instructional effectiveness.  We want and value your point of view.*
NOTE* You will receive several emails at your Iona email account about how and when the CTE will be administered with instructions how to proceed.