Research Advice

Collected advice on doing research

  • Suggestions for better Beamer presentations
  • The 10 Commandments for Regression Tables
  • The 10 Commandments for Figures
  • The introduction “formula” (adapted from advice John Ries and I received from Jim Brander)
  • I use Bibtex for references. It is pretty helpful but it is a pain to conform to certain Journal styles. Here are links to bst files for AEA journals, my own crude adaptation for REStat (only works for types “article” and “unpublished”) and for several other economics journals (old files).
  • How to do empirical economics: a panel discussion lead by Francis Kramarz and featuring advocacy of the “treatment effects” approach (rather than structural methods) from Angrist and a nuanced argument for more theory-based methods from J.M. Robin: “Science is about understanding facts and mechanisms. Mathematics is not a science because there are no mathematical facts. Economics is about establishing and explaining economic facts… Economics is thus not different from physics. Physics has a huge capacity for controlling experiments but not always. Astrophysics, for example, must deduce mechanisms from sometimes very indirect observation. Like astrophysics, economics is a social science with little capacity for controlling experiments.”
  • How do I write a scientific paper? (Almost all of this advice applies to economics papers as well)
  • Don Davis on picking a research topic. I particularly like the following advice Don gives: “…you would like to have your empirical work place some intellectual capital on the line. What views of the world will we affirm or abandon (strengthen or weaken) on the basis of your empirical work? If you do not have an answer to this, then the empirical work will not be very exciting.” (italics added)
  • Things I hate.