There are three graded problem sets during the semester, as well as one ungraded homework assignment early in the semester.
This project asks you to review, replicate, and extend an empirical paper from our reading list. The paper should be one that we have not covered in detail in class.
Your write-up should have three major components:
Identify the main findings and use the authors' data to replicate these results if possible. If the data cannot be obtained, construct the same sort of estimates using a data set of your choosing. Choose a data set that you would expect to generate similar results. Summarize and compare your replication results to the original results in a table. Discuss why you think your results differ from the original (if they do).
Extend the work in some way. Do this either by (a) estimating alternative interesting specifications that the author might have tried or that would shed further light on the issues raised in the paper (e.g., specification checks or subsamples of special interest), or (b) collecting new data and producing results for this new sample. Any analysis of new data should include specification and robustness checks of the sort you would hope to see in a study of this nature.
A word to the wise: The product of this exercise is an essay, not unlike the many that you will spend the rest of your life writing. So pick a style guide and master it (Strunk and White's The Elements of Style is my favorite). A second word: You'll spend the rest of your life writing about numbers. Strunk and White don't discuss that and it doesn't come naturally. Learn how to do it by imitating the good work of others.
There will be a 3-hour final exam at the end of the semester.
2009 final exam (PDF)