Please consult this FAQ document and the syllabus before asking me questions. I will add to this document as I am asked questions.

I am a five-college student. Can I take your class?

Yes, you can take my class. Smith College’s economics department caps intro classes and seminars, but otherwise does not cap electives. I welcome 5-college students. That said, you’ll need to pay extra attention to scheduling meetings, to maintaining some flexibility of your schedule, etc for the team project. Please be in communication with me as you proceed through the semester if any challenges arise. It might be in your interests to organize a team with fellow 5-college students if you are geographically closer to them than to Smith.

Can I do a macro project rather than a micro project?

Yes, you can do a macro project. Consider using the World Values Survey as Stevenson and Wolfers do in their paper (Week 12). You have other alterantives open to you, including work by Shiller, Akerlof, and many others. Search online for ‘Behavioral Macro’ to get a sense of what the options are.

Can I use survey data rather than an experiment for my project?

Yes, you can do a survey-based project. There are many topics you can explore using surveys. For example, I’m working on a project using the the British WERS dataset of people in the workforce and their preferences for autonomy, control and voice in their work. There are similar projects you could look at that are behvioral in their inclination using, for example, the American Time Use Survey (ATUS) – for this, take a look at the work of Dan Hamermesh. Many other projects also use survey data to answer behavioral questions.

What happens if I do badly in the midterm?

There are opportunities to remediate and to improve your grade if you do poorly in the midterm. You will need to come and speak to me if your grade is lower than the median grade of the midterm exam (which I will indicate on the midterm with a note).

I was sick/busy/otherwise occupied during an experiment, what can I do?

I drop the lowest grade from your experiment reports. If you miss an experiment and therefore cannot write the report, then I will drop that grade. I would recommend that you don’t let this happen more than once. That said, in one particular circumstance last time when a student had to miss two experiments for very legitimate reasons, we organized an alternative where she wrote an essay. The option to write such an essay is strongly dependent on the legitimacy of your reason(s) for not attending the class.

Why is there so much reading/work for this class?

It’s an upper-level elective aimed at juniors and seniors. Though it is a “4-credit” class, classes are not equal in the work they expect and instructors are not equivalent in the work they expect. You will read and participate a lot in class and I expect you to participate in your team project, but do note that there is no final exam for the course.