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Research Projects


Dpending on class size, three or four teams of 3-4 members will be assigned and will conduct two in-class projects. The first project is an in-class presentation of a recent "frontier" research paper. The second project involves empirical research, a research essay, and a poster presentation. Students may form their own teams subject to the rule that no team have more than one Ph.D. student unless more than four PhD students enrol. Teams are assigned to presentation slots by preference on a first-come first-served basis in order of arrival date/time of their signing-up e-mail.

Paper Presentation

Four regular sessions are devoted to in-class presentations by student teams. Teams will present a recent research paper to the class. Prepare overhead transparencies and present the paper as if you were the author(s). Reeserve about one hour for the presentation, and twenty minutes for questions and general discussion. The papers to be presented by students are indicated below.

  1. Trade Finance and Financial Shocks (Thursday March 7)
    Amiti, Mary; and Weinstein, David: "Exports and Financial Shocks". Quarterly Journal of Economics 126(4), 2011, 1841-1877.
    • this topic includes an accompanying conference proceedings paper:
    Ahn, JaeBin; Amiti, Mary; and Weinstein, David: "Trade Finance and the Great Trade Collapse". American Economic Review 101(3), May 2011, 298-302.
    Team members: Beck-MacNeil; Mahar.
  2. Migrant Networks and Trade (Tuesday March 19)
    Bastos, Paulo; and Silva, Joana: "Networks, firms, and trade". Journal of International Economics 87(2), July 2012, 352-364.
    Team members: Liang; Sun.
  3. Migrant networks and foreign direct investment (Thursday March 21)
    Javorcik, Beta S.; Özden, Caglar; Spatareanu, Mariana; and Neagu, Cristina: "Migrant networks and foreign direct investment". Journal of Development Economics 94(2), March 2011, 231-241.
    Team members: Fankhanel; Shkolnik; Stewart.

Research Essay and Poster Presentation

The project involves empirical analysis of a data set related to international trade or investment, resulting in a short paper. This research project should be conducted by the same teams as formed for the presentation. The project can (a) replicate and examine the robustness of the results of a well-known paper, (b) asemble a new data set to investigate an outstanding question in a different context, or (c) apply new statistical techniques to an existing problem. The paper should be no more than 1,500 words (about 6 pages). It should contain a table of descriptive statistics, one figure illustrating a key relationship in the data, and one 4-6 column table of regression results. The last day of classes will be a Poster Session in which each paper will be described on a standard poster, including key tables and figures. The paper is also due in class on the same day. The project is evaluated on five equal-weighted criteria: (1) the quality of the poster that communicates the main research results; (2) the originality of the research question; (3) the research effort (primarily construction of the data set and other "footwork"); (4) the quality of the written report both in content and exposition; (5) the competence demonstrated in using econometric methods and analysis.

Below are some guidelines for your poster.

Supplies: The poster boards should be about 48 inches wide and 36 inches high. You will need thumbtacks and scotch tape to mount the board on the wall of our classroom. You should bring a pen, notebook, and a few copies of your paper to facilitate discussion.

Coverage: Your poster should be self-explanatory, freeing you from answering obvious questions so that you are available to supplement and discuss particular points of interest. Will a casual observer walk away understanding your major findings after a quick perusal of your material? Will a more careful reader learn enough to ask informed questions? Ask yourself, "What would I need to know if I were viewing this material for the first time?"

Clarity: Is the sequence of information evident? Indicate the ordering of your material with numbers, letters, or arrows. Place your major points in the poster and save the non-essential sidelights for informal discussion.

Layout: A typical display should use about 8 sheets of printed text. The key sheet is in the upper left-hand corner with your title, name, and affiliation. The lettering for this section should be 72pt (1 inch) high. Either on that sheet or the next one there should be an abstract in large type. Sheets should be labelled with numbers or arrows so the reader can follow your display. Use the remainder of the board for handouts, figures, tables, or printouts that illustrate your major results/findings and how you got there. If there is a theoretical model, or if you need to write out some estimating equation, that should clearly precede any empirical results. All lettering should be 24pt (3/8 inch) high, preferably in a bold font.

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