Data Assignments for Courses

Why give data assignments?

1. Students will learn data analysis skills. Upper level students will practice skills they learned in econometrics.

2. Students will be better prepared to write their own research papers including data analysis.

3. Students will gain a better understanding of the data analysis presented in the papers they read.


1. Have students turn in their data. If they just turn in the results, it is hard to tell if they have done it correctly.

2. Teach the software over the course of the semester. Make the early assignments easy so the students can focus on downloading data and running the software. Use some classtime to explain how to do the assignment, and to look at some results. By the end, students should no longer need detailed instructions on downloading data.

3. Assign similar but different tasks. This allows for a class discussion where students and report their results, and minimized the possibilities for copying from a classmate.

Great Data Sources:


1. Data assignments for students with no econometrics background.

I have used these assignments in my Econ 213 economic history course.
Wage Profiles
Black and White Home Ownership

2. Data assignments for students with econometrics.

From Econ 332, Labor Economics

HW1 Hours of Work
HW2 Wage Profiles
HW3 Gender Gap
HW4 Oaxaca Decomposition

From Econ 401, Senior Seminar

HW1 Basic CPS assignment
HW2 Oaxaca Decomposition
HW4 New York Gender Gap
HW5 Racial Wealth Gap 19th Century