Course Related Pages

Outline of Empirical Micro-Economics I

C. Ferrall


This course covers theory, data and econometric methods related to microeconomics. The main topics come from labour and education with some connections to health and public finance. Assignments will involve use of Stata (other packages can be used but I can't support them). At least one assignments involves computations to be done using language/package of the student's choice. Lectures will cover both theory and econometric methods.


Note: The names associated with topics is in some cases the person associated with the fundamental idea.  The papers listed in the bibliography are not required in themselves.  In some cases they will provide context and explanation beyond the lecture material.

Topics in the later part of the term are subject to change based on instructor whim and student interest.

Part I. Hours, Wages, Sectoral Choice, Schooling

  1. Basic Models
    1. Human Capital (Becker)
    2. On the Job Training (Mincer)
    3. Sectoral Choice (Roy)
    4. Labour Supply and Selection (Heckman)
    5. Lifecycle Labour Supply (Macurdy)
    6. Signalling (Spence, Bedard)
  2. Modern Syntheses & Applications
    1. Labour Supply with Learning By Doing (Imai and Keane)
    2. Dynamic Roy Models (Keane and Wolpin)
    3. Welfare and Earnings Subsidies (Ferrall)
  3. Related Econometric Techniques
    1. Limited Dependent Variables
    2. Panel Data
    3. Selection Correction
    4. Instrumental Variables & 'Causal' Effects

Part II. Unemployment

  1. Models
    1. Search (McCall)
    2. Bargaining (Nash)
    3. Matching and Learning (Mortensen & Pisarides, Burdett & Mortensen)
  2. Applications
    1. Unemployment Insurance (Ferrall)
    2. Minimum Wages (Flinn)
    3. TBA
  3. Related Econometric Techniques
    1. Duration Models
    2. GMM
    3. Principal Components / Factor Analysis

Part III. Trends and Current Topics

Content TBA. Some possibilities

  1. School & Teacher Quality
  2. Inequality, skill-biased technological change
  3. Immigration

Assignments & Exams

Each item listed will be given a letter grade. The weights given are approximate. Planned

Assignments [60%]

Assignments will be averaged with some extra weight given to your best assignment grade.

  1. Replicate and extend Vallaincourt's IRR estimates.
  2. TBA
  3. TBA

Research Proposal, 2-5 pages [10%]

Propose research using methods or covering topics related to this course. This can be your actual MA essay topic if it overlaps with the course.  The interpretation of 'overlap' or 'related topics' is not narrow but needs to be discussed individually. If your MA essay is truly not related to this course then you need to study an area related to this course and propose a topic to contribute to the literature.

Takehome Final Exam [30%]

A combination of pen-and-paper modeling, empirical work and short essay questions to be done individually.

Attendance & Engagement

Attendance at lecture is not mandatory. Students who are engaged at most lectures will get the benefit of the doubt when grading assignments and exams. Research Seminars: Up to 2 research seminars closely related to the course material may be selected as mandatory. The talk by John Ham is already determined to be required. The effect of these considerations will be at most two ticks. For example causing a grade to movie up from B to A- or move down from B+ to B-.