Empirical Political Economy

University of St. Gallen (with Reto Föllmi)

Fall 2013

The seminar gives an overview of the quickly expanding field of empirical political economy. For this aim, students will learn the steps and methodology in carrying out applied research projects using statistical methods. Participants can either choose among a list of topics or work on their own research question. The proposed topics draw upon recently collected data from the field. Examples include the estimation of the effect of institutions on economic growth, the relationship between Protestantism and fiscal spending, and the relationship between inequality and structural change. The competences acquired may serve as a basis for a successful empirical MA thesis.

Each group of two students must choose one research question, write their own empirical paper, and present the paper in class. The paper should review the relevant literature and/or underlying theory, inspect and describe the data, select appropriate quantitative methods, and estimate the model. The discussion of the results should focus on the question whether the main effects are causal or not. Furthermore, students should also try to make their empirical argument as convincing as possible.

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