In this assignment, you will read, summarize, and critique an academic paper using the skills you
have developed throughout the semester. You will choose an academic economics paper from one of
the following journals: American Economic Review, American Economic Journal, Quarterly Journal of
Economics, Journal of Political Economy and Review of Economic Studies. You may want to start by
browsing through the articles in the most recent volumes/issues of each journal. I highly recommend
you find the article you’ll analyze well before the deadline (and choose a topic that you’re interested
in!) and talk with me to confirm that it is suitable for this assignment.
Your submitted assignment should be between 3 and 6 pages. Formatting: 12 pt font, 1” margins,
double spacing, Times New Roman. No spaces between paragraphs. Include page numbers. Your name
and title of the paper should be at the top of the front page. You should submit your write-up and
the pdf of the paper to the Assessment-Assignments-Extra Credit Assignment section of Brightspace.
What matters is your own analysis of the article that is sufficiently complex to make
it interesting – you will not receive full credit if you simply copy/repeat what the authors
say in the article. You should include each of the following in your write-up:
– What is the primary research question(s)? Please describe the research question(s) in the
form of “How does X affect Y ?”
– What is the method that the author(s) use to address the research question: Specifically,
what data do the author(s) use to answer the research question? What is the empirical
strategy (form of analysis) that the author(s) take to answer their research question(s)?
– What are the main findings? Remember that this should link directly to the research
question(s) from part 1.
– (The summary is not the focus of this assignment and so it should not be more than 1
the submitted write-up.)
• Discussion: I want you to place the results in context with a careful and thorough discussion of
the strengths and limitations to the authors’ analysis. What matters is your own evaluation of
the research from an econometrics perspective; do not reiterate the authors’ discussion from the
– Are the authors’ main findings statistically significant? Consider the level of statistical
– Are the findings economically significant? You may need to read the text/tables carefully
to determine whether the findings are economically significant.
– Do you think the results suffer from omitted variable bias? Present at least one omitted
variable that the authors could not control for, and discuss how this would bias the results
– Discuss whether each of the following threats to interval validity apply to this context:
misspecification of functional form, sample selection bias, measurement error, simultaneous
causality bias. If you think any of these threats to internal validity apply, please discuss how
it would affect your results. If you believe that a threat to internal validity does not apply,
please discuss why. If you suspect a threat to internal validity, but do not have enough
information from the article to understand how it would affect the results, please state the
possible threat and explain what information you would want in order to determine if there
is a threat to internal validity.
– Consider the external validity of the article. To discuss external validity you should explicitly identify who would be interested in the results of this paper.
– Overall, do you agree with the conclusions of this article?
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