Learning outcomes of the course unit
The course is divided into two units. The goal of the first introductory unit is to provide students with a sufficiently broad theoretical-conceptual framework and to familiarize them with the basic techniques of data collection and analysis. The goal of the second unit is to provide students with the quantitative tools required to describe the economies of developing countries or those in transition, appraise interpretive models of various economic situations and participate in the formulation of economic policy through collaboration in aid projects
Course contents summary
Unit 1: Elements of statistics.
This is an introductory unit that will examine the major issues involved in quantitative analysis of phenomena using statistical methods. The concepts and techniques are presented using a predominantly intuitive method requiring limited mathematical knowledge, focusing in particular on their applicability in solving economic problems. An important aspect is that of the use of Microsoft Excel in the application of the methods illustrated during the classroom lectures.
The course will cover the following topics:
1. Data gathering
Purpose of a statistical survey. Planning the survey. Data gathering tools. Data matrix.
2. Data analysis
Ratios and, in particular, price indices and their use in an economic context. Averages. Indices and variability measurements. Indices and measurements of concentration/distribution of economic resources. Indicators of income disparity and poverty.
3. Study of the relationship between variables:
Simple regression, correlation. Overview of multiple regression.
4. Overview of sampling and statistical inference.
Unit 2: Economic statistics.
The material covered will focus on the various sources of economic statistics and most useful methods of quantitative analysis of developing economic systems and for understanding their principal macroeconomic issues. >The topics covered include:
Operators, production factors and the Circular Flow of
2. Measuring Economic Aggregates, Production, Gross Domestic Product, other national accounting aggregates and economic account system sphere of reference: SNA and SEC systems. Operators, institutional sectors and branches. Operations and aggregates. Economic account system (simplified version). Overview of additional account elaboration.
3. Connection between national accounting and balance of payments.
4. International Monetary Fund and World Bank statistics on macroeconomic accounting available in developing countries.
5. Sources available in preparing a country profile.
For Unit 1:
S. Zani, Introduzione all'analisi dei dati nell'era di Internet, Giuffre, Milano, 2002 (excl. sections 5.3, 5.4, 5.6, 5.8 and sections marked with asterisk).
For Unit 2
V. Siesto, La contabilita nazionale italiana: il sistema dei conti del 2000, Il Mulino , Bologna, 2003 (sections 10.3, 10.4, 10.5 and 11 and pp. 135 to 208 need only be read).
In addition to the texts indicated in the bibliography, students will have available supplementary teaching materials (notes on multiple regression), transparencies used during lectures, exam topics, etc., available on the instructor’s web site.
Istat, I conti degli italiani. Edizione 2001, Il Mulino, Bologna 2001.
R. Guarini, F. Tassinari, Statistica economica, Il Mulino, Bologna, 2000.
A written exam will be given with an additional oral exam, if required.
For attending students, it is highly recommended that they complete exercises (max. two per student) on topics to be assigned by the professor during the course with deadlines as decided for each topic. Each exercise is to be submitted in the form of a brief written report with appendices as required. The report must contain the presentation and brief discussion of the choices made and results obtained. If the assessment of these exercises is positive, this will be taken into consideration in the final course grade
For all students there will be a written exam at the end of Unit 1 (worth approx. 50% of the final grade). For Unit 2, there will be a second written exam at the end of the course (worth approx. 50% of the final grade). The written exams at the end of each unit are optional, but students are strongly urged to sit them.