Anno Accademico 2023/2024

  • Docente: Enrico Cantoni
  • Crediti formativi: 6
  • SSD: SECS-P/01
  • Lingua di insegnamento: Inglese
  • Modalità didattica: Convenzionale - Lezioni in presenza
  • Campus: Bologna
  • Corso: Laurea Magistrale in Economics (cod. 8408)

Conoscenze e abilità da conseguire

This course will guide students through the process of developing research ideas, gathering, processing, and analyzing the appropriate data, and effectively communicating their results. The course is designed specifically for students interested in doing empirical academic research. At the end of the course, students should be able to prepare a research proposal for a (feasible) empirical study and to deliver a short presentation about the research question, empirical strategy, and planned data work.


Note (particularly for Erasmus students): By the beginning of classes, all students are expected to (1) have successfully completed a graduate econometrics course and (2) have good working familiarity with the econometric software Stata.
Taking the course WITHOUT having already taken one or more graduate/Master's-level econometric courses AND without prior knowledge of Stata is extremely discouraged.

  1. Research proposal and presentation: Your grade will be based on a four-page research proposal and a 15-minute presentation thereof.
  2. Class Participation: Active participation in all classes, including your classmates’ presentations, is highly, highly, highly (yes, I wrote that three times) recommended.
  3. Sketch of Potential Research Ideas: In the last week of classes, I will meet each of you individually to discuss your research idea(s), which will then culminate in the afore-said research proposal and presentation. Finding decent, viable research ideas is challenging, so you should start thinking about that ASAP. Once you have a couple of decent ones, please send me a succinct 1-page description structured along the lines I will describe in the first (or second class).
  4. Paper Readings for First Week of Classes: In the first week of classes, we will discuss a few empirical papers. Thus, ahead of that day, I ask you to read the introduction of the following five papers (reading the entire papers is recommended, particularly the tables and figures, but not required):
  • Black, Sandra, "Do Better Schools Matter? Parental Valuation of Elementary Education," Quarterly Journal of Economics, 1999, 114(2), 577-599.
  • Cantoni, Enrico, and Vincent Pons, “Strict ID Laws Don’t Stop Voters: Evidence from a Nationwide Panel, 2008–2018”, Quarterly Journal of Economics, 2021, 136(4), 2615-2660.
  • Finkelstein, Amy, Matthew Gentzkow, and Heidi Williams, "Sources of Geographic Variation in Health Care: Evidence from Patient Migration," Quarterly Journal of Economics, 2016, 131(4), 1681-1726.
  • Fujiwara, Thomas, “Voting Technology, Political Responsiveness, and Infant Health: Evidence from Brazil,” Econometrica, 2015, 83(2), 423-464.
  • Pons, Vincent, “Will a Five-Minute Discussion Change Your Mind? A Countrywide Experiment on Voter Choice in France,” American Economic Review, 2018, 108(6), 1322-1363.


Though the class will not be based on any specific textbook, there are a number of potentially useful sources:

  1. Econometrics: if you are interested in doing applied economics for a living, Angrist and Pischke’s Mostly Harmless Econometrics and Mastering ‘Metrics are fundamental references.
  2. Coding: Matthew Gentzkow and Jesse Shapiro’s Code and Data for the Social Sciences is an essential reading for any economist working with data: https://web.stanford.edu/~gentzkow/research/CodeAndData.xhtml
  3. Writing: two good references are The Sense of Style, by Steven Pinker, and The Elements of Style, by William Strunk. The former is an outstanding general style manual, while the latter is a succinct, albeit slightly outdated guide to polished writing. Jesse Shapiro’s notes on writing an Applied Micro Paper are also great and freely available: http://www.brown.edu/Research/Shapiro/pdfs/foursteps.pdf
  4. Presenting: Jesse Shapiro is (again) a valuable free source of information on how to give an applied micro talk. His notes are available here: http://www.brown.edu/Research/Shapiro/pdfs/applied_micro_slides.pdf I also strongly recommend this outstanding book by Jonathan Schwabish: http://cup.columbia.edu/book/better-presentations/9780231175210

Metodi didattici

Class/Date Activities Deliverables

Week 1 Reading an econ paper Read intro of papers listed above

Week 2 Stata coding session Bring your laptop w/ Stata on it!

Week 3 Writing an econ paper

Week 4 Presenting an econ paper

Week 5 1-on-1 meetings Sketch(es) of research idea(s) due

TBD --- Research proposals due

TBD 1st round of students’ presentations

TBD 2nd round of students’ presentations

Modalità di verifica e valutazione dell'apprendimento

The class is graded on a 0-30-cum-laude basis based on:

  1. a max 5-page research proposal (that you'll deliver by a date TBD between the end of March and the beginning of April) -- max 15 points towards your final grade;
  2. a 15-minute presentation thereof (max 15 points towards your final grade);
  3. active class participation (max 4 points towards your final grade).

The maximum possible grade is 30 cum laude (for total scores > 30), in case the research proposal is novel, scientifically interesting, feasible, the in-class presentation makes justice to the high quality of the proposal, and the student participates regularly and actively in class. If that is not the case, the following grading scheme applies:

<18 fail
18-23 sufficient
24-27 good
28-30 very good
30 cum laude: excellent

Orario di ricevimento

Consulta il sito web di Enrico Cantoni