Seminar: Development Economics and Microeconometrics

Course content

The seminar will focus on the scope and difficulties of doing applied work with microdata from a developing country. It will give the participants hands-on experience with household panel data from Tanzania. Within the limitations of the data, the student will be free to choose a research question. This could both be survey-related such as the construction of poverty measures or the role of measurement error, or it could be related to the content exploring agricultural choices, household composition, etc. with special attention to the challenges related to establishing causal effects.


MSc programme in Economics

The seminar is primarily for students at the MSc of Economics

Learning outcome

After completing the course, the student should be able to:


  • The challenges of working with survey data from a developing country

  • The structure of common household questionnaires and data files

  • Relevant econometrics methods

  • Specific knowledge within the topic chosen



  • Navigating between questionnaires and the corresponding data files

  • Merging multiple data files

  • Setting up a panel data set at the relevant level of observation

  • Formulating a research question that can be answered given the constraints of the data

  • Motivating the research question based on existing literature within the topic chosen

  • Choosing the relevant econometric method to address the research question with the given data

  • Performing an econometric analysis on survey data

  • Structuring a coherent paper

  • Presenting the research question, methods, and results in a clear manner, both written and orally



  • Carefully interpreting results from an econometric analysis using household data from a developing country with special attention to the establishment of causal effects

  • Assessing the extent to which the research question could be answered with the given data

  • Assessing the adequacy of the chosen econometric method, discussing potential drawbacks of the method and relating the chosen method to other econometric methods

  • Discussing how the results relate to the existing literature

  • providing constructive feedback on other students’ seminar papers

  • receiving feedback on own paper, considering how concerns can be addressed and adjust accordingly

Kick-off meeting, research and writing process of the seminar paper, sessions with presentation of own paper and critical evaluation/feedback to another student´s paper, actively participating in discussions at class.

Before the session a "so-finalized-as-possible"-draft of the paper must be uploaded in Absalon. After the presentations, the student submit an edited version of the paper in the Digital Exam portal as the final exam paper. The aim is that students use the presentation sessions as an opportunity to receive and use the constructive feedback to improve the paper.

Background literature for the econometric analysis:

Angrist and Pischke (2009) Mostly Harmless Econometrics
Deaton (1997) The analysis of household surveys: A microeconometrics approach to development policy
Wooldridge (2002) Econometric analysis of cross section and panel data

Suggested readings for inspiration:

Special issue in Food Policy 2017: “ Agriculture in Africa – Telling Myths from Facts”, Luc Christiaensen (editor), Food Policy, vol 67, pp: 1-192 (February 2017)

It is recommended to have followed Econometrics I and Development Economics prior to taking the seminar.
It is furthermore an advantage to follow or have taken: Advanced Development Economics - Micro Aspects, Econometrics II, and Advanced Microeconometrics

• Kick-off meeting: OBS: changed from the 5th to the 12th: Monday, February 12th , 2018, 10:00-12:00
• Introducing teaching: Mondays, February 12th, 10.00-12.00 (Subject to change if it coincides with a course that many participating students follow)
• Deadline of commitment paper: not later than March 1 at 10 AM
• Deadline of pre-paper upload in Absalon: A week before the presentations
• Presentations/Workshops: May 8th,9th and 10th depending on number of participants

7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Written examination
- a seminar paper in English that meets the formal requirements for written papers stated in the curriculum and at KUNet for seminars.
All aids allowed
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
External censorship
Criteria for exam assessment

Students are assessed on the extent to which they master the learning outcome for the seminar and the objectives stated in the Curriculum.

To receive the top grade, the student must with no or only a few minor weaknesses be able to demonstrate an excellent performance displaying a high level of command of all aspects of the relevant material and can make use of the knowledge, skills and competencies listed in the learning outcomes.

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Seminar
  • 20
  • Project work
  • 186
  • English
  • 206