How to Read a Regression

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I am for the first time teaching a class in quantiative methods in John Jay’s new economics MA program.[footnote]If you’re curious about this program, please email me at[/footnote] One thing I’ve found is that the students, even those who have taken econometrics or statistics classes before, really benefit from an explanation fo how to read regression results — what exactly all the numbers you find in a regression table actually mean. I’m sure there is a textbook out there that gives a good, clear, comprehensive, accessible explanation of how to read regression results, but I haven’t found it. Besides, I like making my own materials. Among other things, it’s a good way to be sure you understand things yourself, and to clarify how you think people should think about them. So I’ve been writing my own notes on how to read a regression. They are on my teaching materials page, along with lots of macroeconomics notes and a few other things.

If you teach an introductory econometrics or statistics class, take a look, and feel free to use them if they seem helpful. Or if you are taking one, or just curious. And if anything seems wrong or confusing to you, or if you know of something similar but more polished and complete — or just better — please let me know.

By the way, these notes, like my macroeconomics notes, are written in latex using the tufte-handout package.

Link: A guide to regressions

Lecture Notes for Research Methods

I’m teaching a new class this semester, a masters-level class on research methods. It could be taught as simply the second semester of an econometrics sequence, but I’m taking a different approach, trying to think about what will help students do effective empirical work in policy/political settings. We’ll see how it works.

For anyone interested, here are the slides I will use on the first day. I’m not sure it’s all right, in fact I’m sure some of it is wrong But that is how you figure out what you really think and know and don’t know about something, by teaching it.

After we’ve talked through this, we will discuss this old VoxEU piece as an example of effective use of simple scatterplots to make an economic argument.

I gave a somewhat complementary talk on methodology and heterodox macroeconomics at the Eastern Economics Association meetings last year. I’ve been meaning to transcribe it into a blogpost, but in the meantime you can listen to a recording, if you’re interested.