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Michael Stoff, Director 305 East 23rd St, CLA 2.102, (G3600) Austin, TX 78712-1250 • 512-471-1442

Fall 2006

T C 310 • Modes of Reasoning

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
44480 TTh
12:30 PM-2:00 PM
BUR 216

Course Description

Statistics are numbers that summarize social and other phenomena. They enable the user to draw inferences about the behavior that generated them and to use those inferences to predict and make judgments about that behavior. Statistical reasoning is ubiquitous in our legal system, in our analysis of biomedical issues, in our understanding of economic activity, and in analyzing the political process (to name just a few areas). This course stresses the ability to understand statistical concepts, to present statistical results in a useful fashion and to reason statistically. Basic concepts of probability are an essential underpinning to this ability. Their study is followed by the analysis of pair-wise relations--the study of the extent to which two measures can be inferred to be occurring together. Sampling theory--how to construct unbiased samples and what to infer from them--follows, and the course then turns to examining tests of significance. Discrimination provides a final range of examples on which to apply the concepts already studied.

About the Professor Dr. Daniel Hamermesh, Edward Everett Hale Centennial Professor of Economics, has spent his professional career doing statistical studies of economic issues describing labor-market behavior and policy. He has taught at Yale and Princeton, and for many years at Michigan State University before coming to UT in 1993. He has taught in Plan II eight times beginning in 1995. His magnum opus, Labor Demand, was published by Princeton University Press in 1993, and the second edition of his book, Economics Is Everywhere, was published by McGraw Hill in Spring 2005. Among the more unusual topics on which he has done research are suicide, sleep, and beauty. He has served on the Board of Editors of the American Economic Review and is currently co-editor of the Industrial and Labor Relations Review. He is a research associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research, a program director of the Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit in Bonn, a fellow of the Econometric Society, and a president emeritus of the Society of Labor Economics and the Midwest Economics Association. His hobbies include long-distance running, at which his skills are rapidly deteriorating; foreign travel, at which increasing practice has heightened his enjoyment; and playing with his five grandchildren, whom he does not see often enough.

Grading Policy

Two 1-1/4 hour midterms: 25% each Two-hour final exam: 30% Class project: 25% Problem sets: 5% The problem sets will involve working on data in Excel spreadsheets.


David Freedman, Robert Pisani and Roger Purves, Statistics (3rd edition) Miscellaneous clippings and articles on reserve.


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