Prof. Peter Kuhn Fall/Winter 2009/10 North Hall 3036 University of California- Santa Barbara Economics 196AB: Senior Honors Seminar Course Outline and Reading List This is a research seminar in which you will write your honors thesis. In addition to working with your advisor (me), students will critique each others’ work in seminar style meetings throughout the two quarters. Students will analyze the data in their thesis using Stata software. Stata is a powerful and widely used data management and analysis tool, and one important benefit of this course is that you will develop a working knowledge of it, by using it. You have two main ways to access Stata: one, free of charge, is to use it in the LSIT computer labs, located in SSMS 1005/1006 and in HSSB 1203. See http://www.lsit.ucsb.edu/index.php?page=lsit-labs. The other is to purchase a copy, which allows you to install it on your own computer. To do this, contact Stata directly at: http://www.stata.com/order/new/edu/gradplans/gp-direct.html. I recommend one of the two following options: Stata/IC software with PDF documentation $98.00/annual Stata/IC software with PDF documentation $179.00/perpetual I do NOT recommend “Small Stata” for $49.00/annual. It has very limited capacity; for example you will be unable to do the Stata assignment for the course in Small Stata. Be sure to include your .edu email address when ordering, to get the above prices (Stata has a special deal with the University of California). The pdf documentation that comes with Stata should be adequate for most users (assuming it contains “Getting Started with Stata”, which I expect it will) but if you have no experience with any statistical software you might want to purchase Alan C. Acock’s A Gentle Introduction to Stata, 2nd Edition, available at the above web site for $46.00. Alternatively, hard copies of Getting Started with Stata for Windows (or Mac) cost $25.00 at the Stata bookstore. Evaluation in the course will consist of: Fall Quarter (196A): Stata ‘training’ assignment (due in class, Monday Oct 19): 20 points Literature review and thesis proposal—classroom presentation: 20 points Literature review and thesis proposal— written version (due 3 pm Friday, Dec. 4): 40 points Class participation (includes constructive comments on your classmates’ presentations): 20 points. Winter Quarter (196B): Thesis Draft—classroom presentation: 10 points Thesis Draft-- written version (due one week after you present): 20 points Final Version of Thesis —classroom presentation: 15 points Final Version of Thesis —written version (due 3 pm Friday March 12): 35 points Class participation throughout the quarter: 20 points. Schedule of Classes: All meetings will be on Mondays from 2-3:30 in North Hall 2111. On weeks when we do not meet, I will be available for consultation on your project during class time in my office, NH 3036. If you cannot meet at that time, please send me an email at email@example.com. It is important to meet with me EARLY in fall quarter to choose a topic. That said, please note that my job is to advise you on the economics of your project. I am NOT a walking Stata manual. Stata is well documented, both in the manuals and in the help menu. Please feel free to help each other with Stata questions but do not bring Stata questions to me unless all your other attempts to make things work fail. You will end up learning Stata better this way. If you do bring me a Stata question, I will ask you what things you tried to solve your problem before giving you an answer. 2 Fall 2009: Monday Sept. 29: Organizational meeting. Preliminary discussion of possible topics; Stata assignments distributed. Monday Oct 5: No class. Meet with me individually to discuss your topic. Monday Oct 12: No class. Meet with me individually to discuss your topic. Monday Oct 19: Stata Assignments due: email me your do-files (as attachments) before coming to class and bring your hard copy answers to class. Each student will make a short presentation summarizing their ideas for a thesis topic. Schedule Student presentations for November. Monday Oct 26: No class. Meet with me individually to finalize your topic and literature review. Monday Nov 2: No class. Meet with me individually to finalize your topic and literature review. Monday Nov 9: No class: Instructor attending conference. I am available during the week however. Monday Nov 16: Student presentations of literature reviews and thesis proposals. Monday Nov 23: Student presentations of literature reviews and thesis proposals. Monday Nov 30: Student presentations of literature reviews and thesis proposals. Friday, Dec. 4, 3 pm: Written versions of Literature review and thesis proposal due in my mailbox in the Economics Department office, NH2127. Winter 2010: Monday, Jan 4: No class. Instructor attending American Economics Association meetings. Monday, Jan 11: Each student will make a short presentation summarizing their plans for a thesis draft. Schedule draft presentations for February. Monday, Jan 18 (University Holiday: MLK Day) Monday, Jan 25: No class. Meet with me individually to finalize your topic and literature review. Monday, Feb 1: Student presentations of honors theses in draft form. Monday, Feb 8: Student presentations of honors theses in draft form. Schedule final presentations for March. Monday, Feb 15 (University Holiday: Presidents’ Day) Monday, Feb 22 Student presentations of honors theses. Monday, Mar 1 Student presentations of honors theses. Monday, Mar 8 Student presentations of honors theses. Friday March 12, 3 pm: Final, written versions of your honors thesis are due in my mailbox in the Economics Department office, NH2127. 3 FINDING ECONOMICS ARTICLES: If you have a relatively complete reference, you can access almost any published article by finding the journal through the UCSB Library’s list of on-line journals. To search for economics articles by topic, keyword, author, title, and lots of other options, use EconLit. Some of the best, recent research (especially on applied as opposed to theoretical topics), search the NBER working papers. For recent working papers specifically in labor economics, check out the IZA working papers. (It does not appear to be possible to link directly to the working papers section of this site; you need to click thru the “publications”, then “discussion paper series” links). If you have a found an interesting article and want to see what has been written that’s closely related to that article since it was published (this is especially important for older articles!), you should follow the citation trails using the Web of Science. In Web of Science, first find the article using the info you have. To see other articles that have cited this one, click “create citation report”, then “view citing articles”, look at these, and on you can go….. If any of the above links do not work for you, try the following: -try accessing them from a computer on campus, or by configuring your home computer for off-campus access. (This is required because the university pays licence fees to use most of the above databases; they are not available to the general public). -try accessing them through the UCSB library’s site. For example, you can reach EconLit and Web of Science from the main library site via “Article Databases”, then scroll down to either “EconLit” or “Web of Science”. The list of Electronic Journals is directly accessible from the main library site. OBTAINING FINANCIAL SUPPORT FOR YOUR RESEARCH: If you plan to run an experiment, or anticipate incurring any other legitimate research expenses (e.g. paying for any kind of data), you can get up to about $500 of funding quite easily by applying for an URCA grant before the deadline, which is usually in late October. Students conducting experiments will also need to apply for Human Subjects Approval for their research. Additional information is available here. Before you can access the application form, you need to give me a description of your project and ask me to designate you as an associate investigator.
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