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NBS8563 : Causal Inference and Applied Microeconometrics

  • Offered for Year: 2024/25
  • Module Leader(s): Professor Nils Braakmann
  • Lecturer: Dr Harry Pickard, Dr Smriti Sharma
  • Owning School: Newcastle University Business School
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus

Your programme is made up of credits, the total differs on programme to programme.

Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
European Credit Transfer System


The module provides students with an understanding of econometric techniques used when dealing with micro data, e.g., data on individuals, households etc. Such techniques are widely used in the social sciences to module things as diverse as marriage decisions, labour supply decisions or credit ratings.
The module covers two broad topic areas: The first are techniques to infer causal relationship from observational data. We cover the conditions under which regression estimates identify causal relationships, as well as additional techniques that can be used when these conditions do not hold, i.e., matching, instrumental variables, fixed-effect panel data models, difference-in-differences and regressions discontinuity designs.
The second part covers classical microeconometric methods for topics such as two-part decisions, ordinal data and other limited dependent variable models. We will cover models for binary and ordinal outcomes, models with skewed/sequential decision making, duration modelling and nonparametric and other flexible methods.

For each topic we will also discuss how to implement these in standard statistical software. All of these topics are essential for understanding modern empirical research in many fields of the social sciences.

Outline Of Syllabus

Area 1: Causal inference and quasi-experimental methods:
1.       Theoretical foundation: Rubin Causal model/potential outcomes, Directed Acyclic Graphs
2.       Selection on observables: Regression and matching
3.       Fixed effects
4.       Difference-in-differences
5.       Instrumental variables
6.       Regression discontinuity designs

Area 2: Applied microeconometrics:
1.       Models for binary outcomes
2.       Models for ordinal outcomes
3.       Two-part and sample selection models
4.       Duration analysis
5.       Quantile regression and standard errors
6.       Nonparametric methods

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion641:0064:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture142:0028:00PiP
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading501:0050:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical81:008:00Computer classes - PiP
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study501:0050:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures provide an exhaustive and in-depth introduction to the core course material, and introduction to required techniques. Computer classes will teach the application of these methods with real world data. Private study facilitates review and understanding of lecture material.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay2M1004000 word reflection on use of techniques for own research.
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Written report induces students to reflect upon the potential use of these techniques for their research.

Reading Lists