Contents

Preface

Welcome to the Doing Economics website. Our aim is to introduce students to the art, practice, and excitement of using data to understand economics and policy analysis.

Doing Economics is a unique empirical resource created by a worldwide collaboration of economists and social scientists. As with all projects created by the CORE Team, it is free, and open-access. We designed it primarily to complement our ebooks Economy, Society, and Public Policy and The Economy, but you can use it in any way you choose: if you are studying on your own and want to learn new skills, or you are a teacher who wants to apply it to a course in which the quantitative understanding of policy plays a role, or you are a student and think this is a skill that will help with your course, you have an open invitation to try or adapt any of these projects.

Doing Economics gives you the opportunity to gain hands-on experience with real-world data in areas of pressing importance to contemporary societies. If you are interested in environmental sustainability, inequality and wellbeing, policies to address public health problems such as obesity, you will find something relevant.

In our experience, students are drawn to study economics precisely because they are interested in these topics—but leave disappointed by abstract and theoretical courses. In recent years, students, citizens, and teachers have all complained loudly about the gap between what is commonly taught in economics and these important and fascinating empirical questions. This deficiency is not solely academic. At worst, a failure to understand how economics can be employed in the real world creates policymakers, journalists, and decision-makers who are ill-equipped to address the major economic challenges that face us, and a shortage of citizens who are able to hold their missteps to account.

Doing Economics seeks to close this gap. The site contains a set of empirical projects based on carefully curated data sets and publicly available data. Each project takes students on a step-by-step journey of investigation using easily-available software. Through Doing Economics, students gain a first-hand appreciation of why they are learning economics, and the relevance and power of the economics they have learned. They gain a valuable toolkit of data-handling, software and statistical skills that they can transfer to other courses they might take and, afterwards, to the workplace.

The expanding CORE team of educators, researchers, students, and teachers that produced these resources believes that economic understanding and data literacy should be taught to as many people as possible, and that the democracies we inhabit benefit from a population that is not easily confused and misled by data. That is why we created this website as a standalone, free resource. Our hope is that it will be used not only by courses based on the Economy, Society, and Public Policy and The Economy texts, but also by any student of economics or social science, especially where quantitative policy analysis is a useful skill.

We thank the Nuffield Foundation for financial support and all of the contributors to CORE around the world. We would also greatly value your feedback on these resources.

The CORE Team
June 2018