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Econ140A_Chap3_Sol - CHAPTER 3 TEACHING NOTES For...

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CHAPTER 3 TEACHING NOTES For undergraduates, I do not work through most of the derivations in this chapter, at least not in detail. Rather, I focus on interpreting the assumptions, which mostly concern the population. Other than random sampling, the only assumption that involves more than population considerations is the assumption about no perfect collinearity, where the possibility of perfect collinearity in the sample (even if it does not occur in the population) should be touched on. The more important issue is perfect collinearity in the population, but this is fairly easy to dispense with via examples. These come from my experiences with the kinds of model specification issues that beginners have trouble with. The comparison of simple and multiple regression estimates – based on the particular sample at hand, as opposed to their statistical properties – usually makes a strong impression. Sometimes I do not bother with the “partialling out” interpretation of multiple regression. As far as statistical properties, notice how I treat the problem of including an irrelevant variable: no separate derivation is needed, as the result follows form Theorem 3.1. I do like to derive the omitted variable bias in the simple case. This is not much more difficult than showing unbiasedness of OLS in the simple regression case under the first four Gauss- Markov assumptions. It is important to get the students thinking about this problem early on, and before too many additional (unnecessary) assumptions have been introduced. I have intentionally kept the discussion of multicollinearity to a minimum. This partly indicates my bias, but it also reflects reality. It is, of course, very important for students to understand the potential consequences of having highly correlated independent variables. But this is often beyond our control, except that we can ask less of our multiple regression analysis. If two or more explanatory variables are highly correlated in the sample, we should not expect to precisely estimate their ceteris paribus effects in the population. I find extensive treatments of multicollinearity, where one “tests” or somehow “solves” the multicollinearity problem, to be misleading, at best. Even the organization of some texts gives the impression that imperfect multicollinearity is somehow a violation of the Gauss-Markov assumptions: they include multicollinearity in a chapter or part of the book devoted to “violation of the basic assumptions,” or something like that. I have noticed that master’s students who have had some undergraduate econometrics are often confused on the multicollinearity issue. It is very important that students not confuse multicollinearity among the included explanatory variables in a regression model with the bias caused by omitting an important variable.
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