Tuesday, September 02, 2008

What Now?

I studied, I took my test, I squeezed in a couple trips, and school has started. So what am I doing to fill the time from now until December 19th when I can get a month of freedom and ski the JMT?

I'm TA-ing Poli Sci 135/Econ 110--Game Theory in the Social Sciences

I'm helping to teach a DeCal (Democratic Education at Cal, i.e. cool student-facilitated courses) called Global Poverty & Impact Evaluation: Learning What Works for the World's Poor [link to syllabus]. It's sponsored by Berkeley's new Center of Evaluation for Global Action (CEGA), an organization sort of similar to MIT's Poverty Action Lab. Basically, the idea is that although well-intentioned, it's not clear that some poverty alleviation projects actually do any good. So you should measure the impact of your project, and then, since money for such projects is scarce, you should focus your resources on those projects with the greatest benefit and not just your favorite pet cause. We'll cover (in a very applied way, at a level appropriate for advanced undergrads with a basic stats background or public policy/public health/education grad students, or basically anybody that's interested) the methods economists use to do this sort of stuff: randomized evaluations, regression discontinuity, diff n' diff, and matching.

And I'm doing the usual: 7 ultras, a hiker gathering, a wedding, my HS 10th reunion, some volunteer stuff, maybe an intramural team, and maybe, just maybe, starting to work on a dissertation.


  1. This sounds like a fantastic class!..actually your Game Theory one sounds awesome too..
    (fellow Economics major here)

    So, what are the Power Calculations you're using?

    Are you teaching them SAS to do these calculations?

  2. power calculations: I know what they are--basically determining the sample size necessary to give you small enough standard errors so that you actually get significant results--but I don't actually remember how to do it myself. I guess that's why there's 3 teachers.

    And we're all Stata geeks, so when we do applications or teach code, that's probably what we'll use.