Note to instructors
Our target audience is students:
- at undergraduate and postgraduate level who are not taking economics as a major subject
- who want to learn how to use economics to understand and articulate reasoned views on some of the most pressing policy problems facing our societies: inequality, financial instability, the future of work, environmental degradation, wealth creation, and innovation
- who want practical training in understanding and using data to measure the economy and policy effectiveness.
- no prior courses in economics are required
- familiarity with basic mathematical operations, percentages, decimals, bar charts, 2-D graphs
The purpose of the empirical projects
- Provide hands-on experience, using real-world data, to investigate important policy problems.
- Strengthen the link between real-world phenomena and economic concepts and models.
- Help students to develop skills that are transferable to other courses and to the workplace.
The structure of the empirical projects
Empirical projects are designed to be completed in Excel. We are developing step-by-step instructions for the projects using R for the full beta release, later in 2018.
Each project contains:
- Clearly defined learning objectives related to statistical/economic concepts and data presentation.
- An introduction to the project and the economic topics it addresses.
- Two to three parts, each containing multiple questions on a specific sub-topic. These can be done independently, or at the same time.
- Step-by-step walk-throughs for conceptually difficult or challenging tasks in Excel. These are annotated screenshots, or an instructional video. The walk-throughs are designed so that beginners in Excel or R will be able to learn the skills required to complete the project.
Solutions for the first empirical project will be available for instructors (with a complete set available for the full beta release), and the walk-throughs will help students confirm that they have got the correct output.
How to use the empirical projects
- Each empirical project in Doing Economics is divided into two or three parts. Each part can be completed independently, or together. One part roughly corresponds to one lesson or one week’s assignment. In each part, students will be guided through the steps to produce the charts or tables that are the basis of a report.
- The projects can be done independently, since the same key concepts are repeated in a number of projects. Each project has an introduction with information about the concepts that are prerequisites, for that project, as well as those that will be introduced in the project.
- The empirical projects can be used to supplement units in Economy, Society, and Public Policy and The Economy, although this is not essential. Each project contains information about the unit to which the material is related, and has links to sections in the ebooks that may help students to understand the project.
ESPP and Doing Economics as part of a connected curriculum
If you are teaching a social science, engineering, business studies, or public policy program in which students have to take an economics course and a quantitative methods course, you can use ESPP and Doing Economics projects to connect these parts of the curriculum.