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Economics 244:
Discrete Choice Methods with Simulation
Spring 2012

Grading

Your course grade will be determined entirely by your work on the problem sets. There will be 6 computer-oriented problem sets, based on codes and datasets that I provide. On the due day, bring hard copies of your outputs and answers to class, where we will discuss the results. At the end of class, hand in your hardcopies to get credit for them. I will grade them as: check-plus, check, or check-minus. Your course grade will be A if you do all six problem sets and receive a check or check-plus for all of them. Your grade will be reduced by one step (eg from A to A-, A- to B+) for each check-minus that your receive. Your grade will also be reduced by two steps (eg from A to B+, B+ to B-) for each problem set that you do not turn in.

Software

The lectures and problem sets use matlab and its optimization toolbox. You can use other languages, such as gauss, but you will be on your own to translate the problem set codes. UC Berkeley has recently purchased a site license for matlab, which allows “staff” to obtain a copy for their personally-owned computers. As I understand, students who receive a stipend or other remuneration (e.g. as a GSI) are considered “staff” for the purposes of this agreement. Check with Software Central. Otherwise, the student version of matlab includes the optimization toolbox and costs only about $100. You can check it out here: http://www.mathworks.com/academia/student_version/. (When you click on “buy it”, the site gives the regular prices; I think you have to request a price quote for the student version.) Having the software on your own PC is much more convenient than using a shared computer. But, if you can’t get it on your machine, you can use the Econometrics Lab’s shared computers, which have a site license for matlab and the optimzation toolbox. Other departments might also have systems that you can use. In class, I will describe matlab coding, but I do not plan to describe how to interact with the Econometrics Lab (i.e., the unix commands for submitting jobs, etc.) Also, the codes and datasets in the problem sets are in text files that are formatted for windows systems. If you use the Econometrics Lab, you might need to convert the formats to unix (eg., windows and unix have different end-of-line markers for text files.) However, the codes themselves run equivalently on either system.