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Lecture: PD Dr. Alexander Spermann
  Director of Labor Policy Germany, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)
Exercise Session: Marina Furdas, Email: email senden


Course Information

  • Language: The course is taught in English and open to Diploma and Master students.
  • Credit points: 4
  • Exam: Friday, 27.02.2015, 16:00-18:00, HS 2004
  • Retake: is cancelled

Time Plan: Lectures

Friday, 31.10.201415:00-18:00HS 3043
Friday, 28.11.201415:00-18:00HS 201, Breisacher Tor
Friday, 12.12.201415:00-18:00HS 3043
Friday, 09.01.201515:00-18:00HS 3043
Friday, 23.01.201515:00-18:00HS 3043
Friday, 06.02.201515:00-18:00HS 3043


Time Plan: Exercise Session

Friday, 07.11.201415:00-18:00PC Pool -1001B
Friday, 05.12.201415:00-18:00PC Pool -1001B
Monday, 15.12.201408:00-11:00PC Pool -1001B
Friday, 16.01.201515:00-18:00PC Pool -1001B
Friday, 30.01.201515:00-18:00PC Pool -1001B
Friday, 13.02.201515:00-18:00PC Pool -1001B



Course Description

The course aims to provide participants with fundamental knowledge of estimation techniques frequently used in applied microeconomic research. The course will focus on endogeneity issues and evaluation methods such as social, natural, and quasi experiments. The course prerequisites are Mathematics, Statistics, and Econometrics (OLS). Students will learn to implement the estimation techniques in PC-sessions using the econometric package Stata.


Outline and Course Material 


Topic 1: Introduction to Microeconometric Evaluation, Social- and Quasi Experiements

Lecture: Introduction, Evaluation Problem, Social Experiments, Probit ATE Mannheim

Exercise: Problem Set 1

  • Caliendo, M. (2006). Microeconometric Evaluation of Labor Market Policies. Read Chapter 1 (book is also available in the Semesterapparat)
  • Hagen, T. and B. Fitzenberger (2004). Mikroökonometrische Methoden zur Ex-Post-Evaluation. in Hagen, T. and A. Spermann Hartz-Gesetze - Methodische Ansätze zu einer Evaluierung, ZEW Wirtschaftsanalysen 74, S. 45-72 (available here)
  • Verbeek, M. (2012). A Guide to Modern Econometrics. Read Chapter 5, in particular sections 5.2.3 and 5.2.4.
  • Spermann, A. and H. Strotmann (2005). The Targeted Negative Income Tax (TNIT) in Germany: Evidence from a Quasi-Experiment. ZEW Discussion Paper 05-68. Here
  • Greenberg, D. and M. Shroder (2004). The Digest of Social Experiments, Third Edition. Please read p.3-22 (Here) and p.428-429 (Here)
  • Rosholm, M., M. Svarer, and J.M. Pedersen (2012). Why is unemployment so low in Denmark? Evidence from four social experiments. Paper presented at the EEA-ESEM 2012 Conference. Here
  • Cameron, Adrian Colin and Pravin K. Trivedi (2005). Microeconometrics. Methods and Applications. Cambridge University Press. Please read p.48-54.
  • Levitt, Steven D. and John A. List (2009): Was there really a Hawthorne Effect at the Hawthorne Plant? An analysis of the original illumination experiments, NBER Working Paper No. 15016, Cambridge.


Topic 2: Matching

Lecture: Matching, Job Placement Vouchers

Exercise: Problem Set 2

  • Caliendo, M., R. Mahlstedt, and O.A. Mitnik (2014). Unobservable, but Unimportant? The Influence of Personality Traits (and Other Usually Unobserved Variables) for the Evaluation of Labor Market Policies. IZA Discussion Paper No. 8337
  • Cameron, A. and P. Trivedi (2005). Microeconometrics. pp. 889-898.
  • Hille, A. and J. Schupp (2013): How Learning a Musical Instrument Affects the Development of Skills, IZA Discussion Paper No. 7655. 
  • Imbens, G. (2014). Matching Methods in Practice: Three Examples. IZA Discussion Paper No. 8049
  • Winterhager, H., A. Heinze and A. Spermann (2006). Deregulating Job Placement in Europe: A Microeconometric Evaluation of an Innovative Voucher Scheme in Germany. Labor Economics Vol. 13, pp. 505-517. IZA Discussion Paper No. 2109.


Topic 3: Natural Experiments: Diff-in-Diff Estimation, Minimum Wages

Lecture: Minimum Wage

Exercise: Problem Set 3

  • Paloyo, A. R., S. Schaffner and C.M. Schmidt (2013): Special Issue on the effects of minimum wages in Germany: Editorial, German Economic Review 14, 255-257. Link to the Journal
  • Rattenhuber, P. (2013): Building the minimum wage: the distributional impact
    of Germany’s first sectoral minimum wage on wages and hours across different wage bargaining regimes, Empirical Economics, August 2013. Link to the Journal


Topic 4: Natural Experiments: Instrumental Variables

Lecture: IV Estimation

Exercise: Problem Set 4

  • Angrist, J.D. and J. Pischke (2010). The Credibility Revolution in Empirical Economics: How Better Research Design Is Taking the Con out of Econometrics. IZA Discussion Paper No. 4800
  • Bazen, S. (2011). Econometric Methods for Labour Economics, Oxford University Press, pp. 26-31. Here
  • Economics Focus: Cause and Defect. Here
  • Imbens, G. (2014). Instrumental Variables: An Econometrican's Perspective. IZA Discussion Paper No. 8048
  • Heckman, J.J. and S. Urzua (2009). Comparing IV with Structural Models: What Simple IV Can and Cannot Identify. IZA Discussion Paper No. 3980
  • Puhani, P.A., and A.M. Weber (2007). Does the early bird catch the worm? Instrumental variable estimates of early educational effects of age of school entry in Germany. Empirical Economics, 32, 359-386. Here

Topic 5: Quasi-Experimental Design: Regression Discontinuity

Lecture: Regression Discontinuity Design

Exercise: Problem Set 5

  • Lalive R. (2007). Unemployment Benefits, Unemployment Duration, and Post-Unemployment Jobs: A Regression Discontinuity Approach. AEA: Papers and Proceedings, pp 108-112. Here
  • Lee, D.S. and T. Lemieux (2009). Regression Discontinuity Design in Economics. NBER Working Paper 1472


Readings and textbooks

General reading for the course

  • Cahuc, P. and A. Zylberberg (2014). Labour Economics, 2nd ed., MIT Press.
  • Caliendo, Marco (2006). Microeconometric Evaluation of Labor Market Policies.Springer, Berlin.

Supplementary references

  • Angrist, Joshua D. and Jörn-Steffen Pischke (2009). Mostly Harmless Econometrics. Princeton University Press, New Jersey.
  • Bazen, Stephen (2011). Econometric Methods for Labour Economics, Oxford University Press.
  • Boeri, Tito and Jan van Ours (2013). The Economics of Imperfect Labor Markets, 2nd edition, Princeton University Press, New Jersey.
  • Verbeek, Marno (2012). A Guide to Modern Econometrics. 3rd ed., John Wiley, Chichester.

Econometric readings 

  • Cameron, Adrian Colin and Pravin K. Trivedi (2005). Microeconometrics. Methods and Applications. Cambridge University Press.
  • Wooldridge, Jeffrey (2013). Introductory Econometrics: A Modern Approach. Cincinnati, OH: South-Western College Publishing, 5th edition.

Mathematical foundations

  • Chiang, Alpha C. and Kevin Wainwright (2005). Fundamental Methods of Mathematical Economics. 4th ed., McGraw-Hill.
  • Hoy, Michael et al. (2011). Mathematics for Economics, 3rd editon, MIT Press.

Stata References



Abteilung für Empirische Wirtschaftsforschung und Ökonometrie

Raum 2309

Platz der Alten Synagoge

D-79085 Freiburg

Tel.: 0761 203-2338

Fax: 0761 203-2340

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