Inference methods in observational studies

Econ 120C
Welcome to Econ 120C!
(Syllabus & Extra information)
Econ 120C
Teaching Team
➢ Professor: Yixiao Sun, Ph.D. Yale 2002, [email protected]
Specialty: Econometrics
➢ Teaching Assistants:
Spini, Pietro: [email protected]
Zhu, Linyan: [email protected]
De Vries, Tjeerd: [email protected]
➢ Reader
Xie, Haitian: [email protected]
Econ 120C
➢ The course materials will be posted on
➢ You should be able to log into the course web site using
your regular UCSD ID and password.
➢ Throughout the quarter, I will make announcements on
canvas and use the mail function in canvas.
➢ Make sure that you configure your settings properly so
that you can receive my email.
Econ 120C
➢ The lectures and discussion sessions will be delivered in-person.
➢ The lecture meeting times are:
9:30am — 10:50am, Rev South (tent classroom), TuTh.
12:30pm — 1:50pm, Center 214, TuTh.
➢ The discussion meeting time: Wednesdays
➢ 3:00pm-3:50pm, RWAC 0121
➢ 4:00pm-4:50pm, RWAC 0121
➢ 5:00pm-5:50pm, RWAC 0121
➢ 6:00pm-6:50pm, RWAC 0121
Econ 120C About the course
➢ This course covers contemporary causal inference
methods in observational studies.
➢ In a complex system, economic and beyond, causal
inference aims at determining the causes and effects of
the actions being studied — for example, the effect of
increasing the minimum wage on employment, the
impact of increasing the education level on earnings,
the effect of more (or less) aggressive police responses
on reducing domestic violence, and the influence of
introducing higher property-right protection on
economic growth.
Econ 120C About the course
➢ The course introduces students to the concepts and
methods that are commonly used by economists and
other practitioners to identify and estimate the causal
effects of an action or policy.
➢ The course will enable students to provide insightful
and enlightening answers to many interesting
questions of causation.
➢ It will also equip students with the knowledge to
estimate the fundamental relationships in economics
such as the demand and supply.
➢ The course is particularly recommended for students
who plan to pursue a quantitative career in business
analytics, policy evaluation, etc. 6
Econ 120C
The eBook and any other digital course materials,
if any, are provided by the UC San Diego
Bookstore through Canvas and are free for the two
weeks of classes.
After the two weeks of free access, your student
account will be charged an inclusive access price
unless you opt out.
If, for some reason, you decide that you do not
want to purchase these materials, you can opt-out
of the Inclusive Access program by going to the
Redshelf link in your Canvas page and clicking
If you opt-out by August 9, 2022, your student
account will NOT be charged.
Econ 120C
For any questions about billing please
contact [email protected]
For any questions about using your
eBook please reference RedShelf
If you have any trouble accessing your
eBook please feel free to reach out
to [email protected]
We do not have any control over the
Econ 120C
Econ 120C Econometrics Video Handbook (EVH)
➢ The EVH is available from
➢ Clicking on “Econometric Video Handbook” to watch
the relevant videos
Econ 120C
Main Topics
❑Chapters 9,10 and 12-13 in Stock and Watson and the EVH
Econ 120C
❑Main Topics
• Part I. Review of Basic Concepts in Econ 120A/B
• Part II. Causality and Causal Model; Threat to the
Validity of OLS for Causal Inference
• Part III. Panel Data Models
• Part IV. IV and 2SLS
• Part V. Experiments and Quasi-experiments
➢ We will follow the EVH pretty closely
Main Topics
Econ 120C Econ 120C versus Big Data
➢ Econ 120ABC is a hallmark of our
undergraduate program: rigorous analytical
➢ UCSD econometrics is consistently ranked
among the top 5 in the USA
➢ The sequence is your step-stone to big data
and business analytics.
➢ Big Data is the amount of data just beyond
technology’s capability to store, manage
and process efficiently.
Econ 120C Data Analytics
➢ Organizations have access to a wealth of information
• They can’t get value out of it because most of it is
sitting in its most raw form or in a semistructured
or unstructured form
• They don’t even know whether it’s worth keeping
(or even able to keep it for that matter).
➢ Data Analytics is in high demand
Econ 120C The Data Scientist
Hal Varian, Mckinsey Quarterly, January 2009:
“The ability to take data — to be able to understand
it, to process it, to extract value from it, to
visualize it, to communicate it—that’s going to be
a hugely important skill.”
Ref: Ref
Econ 120C
Econ 120C
➢ We will use Stata to implement the econometric methods
Software: Stata
➢ Build labor market capital now!!! I encourage you to write
“do” files instead of “point and click.”
➢ Download and license information is available on
Econ 120C
Software: Stata
➢ Students can download and install a copy of Stata to their
own computers.
➢ See the link on Canvas
➢ Stata is essential for problem sets. Exam questions may
involve Stata outputs.
➢ You are welcome to use other programming packages or
languages, such as R and Python. However, make sure that
you understand Stata codes (treat them as pseudo codes if
you use other packages)
Econ 120C
Software: Stata
“I hear and I forget.
I see and I remember.
I do and I understand.’’
— Confucius
Econ 120C
Assignment (15%)
➢ There will be eight assignments, each of which
will carry a weight of 1.875% towards the final
➢ Group study and free discussion are encouraged.
But you should submit your own answers. Copying
others’ answers will be treated as cheating.
➢ If you have any question on the assignments, you
can ask us during our office hours. Our office
hours are for you.
➢ The lowest assignment score will be dropped.
Please do not ask for an extension.
➢ Assignments will be due at 11:59 pm on Fridays
Econ 120C
Midterm Exam (35%)
04/29/2022, Friday, 7:00pm–8:20pm, MOS, 0113
Final Exam (50%)
06/04/2022, Saturday, 7:00pm–9:59pm
➢ Both exams will be closed book. You can use ONE
page (double-sided, no larger than 8.5in by 11in) of
note. It must be hand-written; photo reducing and
pasting are not permitted. The one-page policy applies
to both the midterm exam and the final exam.
Econ 120C Exams
➢ We will ask you to show your student ID card (or
other cards such as passport).
Econ 120C
All three parts (assignment, midterm and final exams) are needed to pass the class.
If there is a zero in any of the three parts, you will get an “F”. For example, if
you turn in none of the assignments, you will receive an “F” regardless of your
exam scores.
Conditional on a non-zero score on each of the three parts, the course grade will be
assigned based on a weighted average score as follows (see the syllabus for
Check your grade on canvas and tell us any error immediately.
There is an adjustment if the exams are too hard,
but there is no curve.
Econ 120C
Office hours, et al
Yixiao Sun
➢ E-mail: yisun at
Office Hours: 10:00am — 11:30am, Wednesdays
➢ We are available for questions during our office hours and discussion
➢ You can post your questions to the discussion board on Canvas. We
will check the discussion board regularly and answer your questions
there. Please use the discussion board rather than emailing me unless
you need to discuss a private matter.
➢ When you have to email us regarding a private matter, please include
ECON120C in the subject line, and we will try to respond to your
email before any other emails.
➢ As your instructors, we do not have any control over enrollment,
waiting list, and any other administrative issues. These matters are
handled by the department’s undergraduate advising office.
TA’s Office Hours
Econ 120C Discussion Session
➢ Discussion session will be hosted by the TA’s.
➢ In general, the hosting TA will do the following in the session
• Discuss the problem sets and exams (from previous years).
Questions of the same type may appear again on this year’s exams.
• Help explain difficult materials
• Work out some examples
• Answer any questions you may have
I think: our TA’s are very good. And there is no extra charge.
Also, TA’s will help write some of the exam questions.
Econ 120C
Survey and attendance
Canvas Survey: I will conduct some surveys through the
quarter. For each completed survey, you will get 0.5 points.
The survey point will be added to your weighted score.
Attendance Credits: I will conduct some attendance surveys at
random times. Each attendance credit will add 0.5 points to your
weighted score.
Your letter grade will not be affected in any way by the survey or
attendance credits that your classmates will get.
There is no penalty for not attending classes, but there is a reward
for doing so!
Econ 120C
Check out
if you want to go to graduate school and want a
recommendation letter from me (or from any other professors)

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