The purpose of the research paper is to give you an opportunity to pick a topic of interest to you, collect
real-world data, and apply some of the regression methods we have discussed in class. I am not
expecting you to come up with new economic theories, but rather put into practice the tools you have
learned, and demonstrate that you can relate them to your own research project. I suggest the
following outline/sections for your paper:
I. Introduction and Objective
a. Statement of the research problem
b. Brief review of relevant literature (3-4 key papers related to your topic) for context
II. Description of the regression model
a. What are the dependent and independent variables?
b. What does theory/literature review say about the expected signs of the parameter estimates?
c. What angle are you taking? What is your specific hypothesis?
III. Data and methods
a. Describe the data sources
b. Present simple summary statistics of the data
c. Describe the analytic regression methods, including statistical tests and/or corrections
you have made to the model
a. Describe and interpret the results; what do they mean?
b. Do they support or not your original hypothesis? Why or why not?
a. Discuss your findings in the context of your literature review. Are your results consistent or
b. Discuss limitations of your results c. What are the implications of your results? ?you should not feel wedded to these sections, but it gives the paper a logical organizational flow. We will be using examples of academic papers in class and you will see that this general organization is extremely useful and helps the focus.
A few things to be mindful of:
Length: this should be a short paper, approximately 10-12 pages of 1.5 spaced pages (excluding tables,
graphs, bibliography). I prefer you integrate your tables/graphs into the text as it makes the paper
easier to read, rather than flipping back and forth to appendices
Scope: be realistic about the scope of your paper. Don?t be overly ambitious. I?d rather you take a
simpler/narrow focus and do a deeper dive on a simpler problem. Remember you only have
approximately 12 weeks along with all the homeworks to complete this.
Data: you will be confined to using publicly available data through on-line searches (such as
government data or data available to you as Northeastern students); I do not expect that you will
sults: if your model does not come out the way you hoped,
don?t panic! A great paper is often one that attempts to evaluate a theory but finds evidence to the
contrary ? the key then is the clearly explain why the data and model did not appear to ?fit? the
Causation and caveats: you should never you the words variable ?A? causes ?B.? That is bad
econometrics; use phrases like ?the model suggests that variables A and B have a strong statistical
association with one another, and a 1% change in variable B is associated with a 10% change in variable
B.? Also use caveats such as ?based on the data I collected I find ? ,? ?based on my simplified linear
model,? ?based on the limited information available,? ?a larger more representative sample may yield a
different conclusion because??? Don?t ever use the word ?proves? in the context of econometrics. I
hope you get the idea
Ask: you should ask me for feedback on the scope of your paper early on and whether it makes sense.
Please don?t wait until early April to find out the data you thought you would use does not in fact exist
The research paper is worth 25% of your final grade, so it?s a significant contributor to your overall grade
in the class. In order that I can give you feedback so that you know you are on track and can do a strong
research paper, I am proposing the following milestones:
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