This book paints a portrait of social life in America by providing an accessible discussion of empirical economics research on issues such as illegal immigration, health care and climate change. All the studies in this book use the same data source: individual responses to the American Community Survey (ACS), the nation's largest household survey.
The author identifies studies that clearly illustrate core econometric methods (such as regression control and difference-in-differences), replicates key statistics from the studies, and helps the reader to carefully interpret the statistics. This book has a companion website with replication files in R and Stata format. The Appendix to this book contains a guide to using the free R software, downloading the ACS and other public-use microdata, and running the replication files, which assumes no background knowledge on the part of the reader beyond introductory statistics. By opening up the hood on how top scholars use core econometric methods to analyze large data sets, a motivated reader with a decent computer and Internet connection can use this book to learn not only how to replicate published research, but also to extend the analysis to create new knowledge about important social phenomena. A more casual reader can skip the online supplements and still gain data-driven insights into social and economic behavior. The book concludes by describing how careful empirical estimates can guide decision making, through cost-benefit analysis, to find public policies that lead to greater happiness while accounting for environmental, public health and other impacts.
With its accessible discussion, glossary, detailed learning goals, end of chapter review questions and companion resources, this book is ideal for use as a supplementary volume in introductory econometrics or research methods courses.
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