English   Danish

2022/2023  KAN-CPOLV1027U  Empirical Methods and Data in Macroeconomics

English Title
Empirical Methods and Data in Macroeconomics

Course information

Language English
Course ECTS 7.5 ECTS
Type Elective
Level Full Degree Master
Duration One Semester
Start time of the course Autumn
Timetable Course schedule will be posted at calendar.cbs.dk
Max. participants 60
Study board
Study Board for BSc/MSc i International Business and Politics, MSc
Course coordinator
  • Daniel Borowczyk-Martins - Department of Economics (ECON)
Main academic disciplines
  • Finance
  • Statistics and quantitative methods
  • Economics
Teaching methods
  • Face-to-face teaching
Last updated on 15-02-2022

Relevant links

Learning objectives
The course will equip students with the ability to:
  • document stylized facts in macroeconomics using relevant data sources and statistical methods;
  • critically assess the validity of different forms of evidence in macroeconomics, and their usefulness to inform macroeconomic theories and policies;
  • apply statistical methods to produce evidence relevant for macroeconomic analysis;
  • articulate the empirical implications of key macroeconomic theories and models;
  • understand how to identify and estimate macroeconomic shocks and impulse responses;
  • understand cross-sectional research designs to quantify causal effects in macroeconomics.
Course prerequisites
The course is conceived for students who have taken at least one graduate course in econometrics or quantitative methods. Previous exposure to graduate macroeconomic theory is helpful, but not a requirement.

The course is especially well suited to students enrolled in the following CBS graduate programs: MSc in Economics and Business Administration (Applied Economics and Finance), MSc in Advanced Economics and Finance, MSc in International Business and Politics (Business Economics) and MSc in Business Administration and Management Science.
Empirical Methods and Data in Macroeconomics:
Exam ECTS 7,5
Examination form Home assignment - written product
Individual or group exam Group exam
Please note the rules in the Programme Regulations about identification of individual contributions.
Number of people in the group 2
Size of written product Max. 25 pages
The student can choose to write an individual project of max. 15 pages.
Assignment type Project
Duration Written product to be submitted on specified date and time.
Grading scale 7-point grading scale
Examiner(s) One internal examiner
Exam period Winter
Make-up exam/re-exam
Same examination form as the ordinary exam
Description of the exam procedure

Students write a report based on a specific assignment formulated by the teacher.

Course content, structure and pedagogical approach


Brief description: This course considers the use of time-series and cross-sectional data to answer macroeconomic questions such as: what are the sources of fluctuations in unemployment?, what are the effects of monetary and fiscal policy on economic activity?, do expansions in credit supply cause economic recessions?


Aims and expected learning outcomes: The goal is to introduce students to research questions, statistical methods and data sources used in modern macroeconomic research. This course is not a methods course, nor a theory course. Rather, it is an applied course, focusing on how to obtain empirical answers to macroeconomic questions by a combination of theory, statistical methods, and data.

Students will gain hands-on experience with data and statistical methods to analyse it, and learn to critically evaluate empirical designs and research strategies. 


This course should be especially relevant for students considering working in central banks, the financial industry, the government or international organizations (e.g. IMF, OECD, World Bank), and/or wanting to write a master’s dissertation with a substantial empirical component.


Content and structure: As with any empirical science, we will start by covering some key macroeconomic facts. We will spend some time discussing how these facts are established from existing data sources and learn statistical techniques to summarize the relevant variation in the data.


A substantial part of empirical macroeconomic research aims to perform dynamic causal inference. We want to identify and quantify the effect of exogenous variation in variable X on one or more outcomes of interest Y over several periods. For that purpose, we will introduce the concepts of macroeconomic shock and impulse response, and study how both can be identified, estimated, and interpreted in light of relevant macroeconomic theories.


A central feature of empirical macroeconomics is the role played by theory in guiding empirical work. We will introduce/review a few macroeconomic theories to help us motivate/structure the research question, draw their empirical implications, and use them to interpret empirical results.


The last section of the course covers cross-sectional approaches to identify macroeconomic causal effects. We will introduce the concept of identified moment and learn its usefulness for macroeconomic research, and study different research designs used to obtain identified moments.


Pedagogical approach: The course follows a specific-general-specific approach. We will focus on a set of concrete questions (e.g. what are the sources of fluctuations in unemployment, what are the effects of monetary and fiscal shocks on economic activity?). Next, we will cover general empirical strategies and statistical methods that can be used to answer them. Last, we will focus on answering the specific questions by applying those approaches and methods to real-world data using statistical software, or by analysing how classic scientific articles have done it.

Description of the teaching methods
The course is organized in weekly three-hour on-campus classes. The classes will involve lecturing, discussion of selected readings, and presentation of solutions to assignments by students and the lecturer. Throughout the course I will post assignments. The assignments can include reading, summarizing, and critiquing a scientific article, performing econometric analysis using real-world data and statistical software, or answering a set of verbal and/or simple algebraic questions. In terms of statistical software, I will work with Stata, but you can use your preferred option (e.g. R).
Feedback during the teaching period
The submission of assignments is voluntary but strongly encouraged. I will provide individual feedback on some assignments. Students are expected to participate actively in class discussions and present their work in class, on which I will provide feedback in class.
Student workload
Classes 33 hours
Readings, assignments 173 hours
Expected literature

Journal articles and selected textbook chapters. 


If you want to have a taste of what we will cover, have a look at the two papers below published in the Journal of Economic Perspectives 2018 symposium on Macroeconomics a Decade after the Great Recession


Identification in Macroeconomics, Emi Nakamura and Jón Steinsson.


Finance and Business Cycles: The Credit-Driven Household Demand Channel, Atif Mian and Amir Sufi.

Last updated on 15-02-2022