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Thread: Textbook suggestions

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    Textbook suggestions

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    I know there has been a couple of past posts about this, but I thought I would add another. What advanced undergraduate textbooks would you guys suggest for econometrics and linear algebra for independent study?

    My econometrics class used Stock and Watson, and my linear algebra class used Linear Algebra with Applications, by Leon.

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    Re: Textbook suggestions

    If you are going to do PhD economics after graduation, you might want to read the beginning chapters of Hayashi. Though it is a graduate-level book, it is readable for undergraduates with good understanding of the material in a typical prob-stat sequence. Alternatively, Greene might also be a good choice.

    For linear algebra, I once read Leon's book several years ago and felt that it was a good one. You may also want to try Friedberg's classic text on linear algebra. That one contains a bit more "theory" than Leon's and is very rigorous. I heard that Linear Algebra Done Right by Axler is also very good, but I have not read that.

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    Re: Textbook suggestions

    Thanks for the suggestions--someone else suggested Linear Algebra Done Right as well, so I might try to take a look at that. I am doing an RA position before grad school, and it's been a couple semesters since I took econometrics, so I was hoping to get an econometrics book to refresh my memory before I start the RA job. I would just reread Stock and Watson, but I really didn't enjoy that textbook very much so I was thinking of trying something else. I'd like something at more of an advanced undergrad level, just because I'm taking a full class load my last semester and I won't have a ton of time to dedicate to the book.

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    Re: Textbook suggestions

    If it's an empirically-oriented RA position buy and read Mastering Metrics and Mostly Harmless Econometrics by Angrist and Pischke. Formal textbooks are good for grad classes in theoretical econometrics. Doing empirical work people will appreciate is so much more than knowing the theory.


    Quote Originally Posted by phdeconomics View Post
    Thanks for the suggestions--someone else suggested Linear Algebra Done Right as well, so I might try to take a look at that. I am doing an RA position before grad school, and it's been a couple semesters since I took econometrics, so I was hoping to get an econometrics book to refresh my memory before I start the RA job. I would just reread Stock and Watson, but I really didn't enjoy that textbook very much so I was thinking of trying something else. I'd like something at more of an advanced undergrad level, just because I'm taking a full class load my last semester and I won't have a ton of time to dedicate to the book.

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    Re: Textbook suggestions

    It is an empiricially-oriented RA position, so thanks for those suggestions!

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    Re: Textbook suggestions

    There's probably a corollary to what TM was suggesting: if you're going to spend time to prepare for this job, then 50--75% of it should be spent on programming.

    Or let me re-iterate: your value-added as an RA comes from being able to code. Econometric theory and research design are both marginally relevant. These other skills might be useful if you really want to shine as an RA, but as a first priority, you should always make sure you can code really quickly.

    If you don't know as of now, it may be a good idea to ask for what language(s) you'd be coding in, then practice a lot with online resources.

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    Re: Textbook suggestions

    Quote Originally Posted by chateauheart View Post
    There's probably a corollary to what TM was suggesting: if you're going to spend time to prepare for this job, then 50--75% of it should be spent on programming.

    Or let me re-iterate: your value-added as an RA comes from being able to code. Econometric theory and research design are both marginally relevant. These other skills might be useful if you really want to shine as an RA, but as a first priority, you should always make sure you can code really quickly.

    If you don't know as of now, it may be a good idea to ask for what language(s) you'd be coding in, then practice a lot with online resources.
    That's definitely good advice but I assumed the ability to write code was a given for the position and if not, they intend to teach it or give the student time. The hardest thing about having a new RA for me (I've been one and now have had two) was that they don't speak the language of empirical micro. Being familiar with common research designs and their associated/common robustness tests is crucial (difference-in-difference, regression discontinuity, event study, IV, spatial). For the majority of empirical research papers, someone else's approach fits like a glove. That means that being able to say "take a look at the data from those two states, see if using Card and Krueger's minimum wage DinD approach gives us anything interesting" or "that's a triple diff, like Gruber (1993)" and have the person know what is you are talking about is valuable for both the researcher and the RA.

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    Re: Textbook suggestions

    Quote Originally Posted by tm_member View Post
    That's definitely good advice but I assumed the ability to write code was a given for the position and if not, they intend to teach it or give the student time. The hardest thing about having a new RA for me (I've been one and now have had two) was that they don't speak the language of empirical micro. Being familiar with common research designs and their associated/common robustness tests is crucial (difference-in-difference, regression discontinuity, event study, IV, spatial). For the majority of empirical research papers, someone else's approach fits like a glove. That means that being able to say "take a look at the data from those two states, see if using Card and Krueger's minimum wage DinD approach gives us anything interesting" or "that's a triple diff, like Gruber (1993)" and have the person know what is you are talking about is valuable for both the researcher and the RA.
    So the most important thing for landing a good RA position is to have a letter of recommendation that says... what? That this student is well read in the most influential modern empirical work?

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    Re: Textbook suggestions

    Quote Originally Posted by Spectrum View Post
    So the most important thing for landing a good RA position is to have a letter of recommendation that says... what? That this student is well read in the most influential modern empirical work?
    That they can hit the ground running on day one.

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    Re: Textbook suggestions

    Quote Originally Posted by Kaysa View Post
    That they can hit the ground running on day one.
    Exactly.

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