Mastering 'Metrics: The Path from Cause to Effect

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Princeton University Press, Dec 21, 2014 - Business & Economics - 304 pages

From Joshua Angrist, winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics, and Jörn-Steffen Pischke, an accessible and fun guide to the essential tools of econometric research

Applied econometrics, known to aficionados as 'metrics, is the original data science. 'Metrics encompasses the statistical methods economists use to untangle cause and effect in human affairs. Through accessible discussion and with a dose of kung fu–themed humor, Mastering 'Metrics presents the essential tools of econometric research and demonstrates why econometrics is exciting and useful.

The five most valuable econometric methods, or what the authors call the Furious Five—random assignment, regression, instrumental variables, regression discontinuity designs, and differences in differences—are illustrated through well-crafted real-world examples (vetted for awesomeness by Kung Fu Panda's Jade Palace). Does health insurance make you healthier? Randomized experiments provide answers. Are expensive private colleges and selective public high schools better than more pedestrian institutions? Regression analysis and a regression discontinuity design reveal the surprising truth. When private banks teeter, and depositors take their money and run, should central banks step in to save them? Differences-in-differences analysis of a Depression-era banking crisis offers a response. Could arresting O. J. Simpson have saved his ex-wife's life? Instrumental variables methods instruct law enforcement authorities in how best to respond to domestic abuse.

Wielding econometric tools with skill and confidence, Mastering 'Metrics uses data and statistics to illuminate the path from cause to effect.

  • Shows why econometrics is important
  • Explains econometric research through humorous and accessible discussion
  • Outlines empirical methods central to modern econometric practice
  • Works through interesting and relevant real-world examples


Chapter 1 Randomized Trials
Chapter 2 Regression
Chapter 3 Instrumental Variables
Chapter 4 Regression Discontinuity Designs
Chapter 5 DifferencesinDifferences
Chapter 6 The Wages of Schooling
Abbreviations and Acronyms
Empirical Notes

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About the author (2014)

Joshua D. Angrist, winner of the 2021 Nobel Prize in Economics, is the Ford Professor of Economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Jörn-Steffen Pischke is professor of economics at the London School of Economics and Political Science. They are the authors of Mostly Harmless Econometrics (Princeton).

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