IPE Quantitative Research Lab (Course number IPEC 250, Intructor: James Raymond Vreeland, Professor 2.0)  

  Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University:  

IPE QUANTITATIVE RESEARCH LAB (Course number IPEC 250)
WE ARE GLOBAL GEORGETOWN!


Classroom location: Reynolds Family Hall (REYN) 133
Class day & time: Tuesday, 3:30pm-6pm






This web-syllabus is designed to be used throughout the semester. Below you will find links to the readings for each of the 14 class sessions. Where possible, reading assignments have been linked to electronic versions available on the Internet. Otherwise, the assignment is available at the library and the bookstore. Students visiting this page for the first time should read through the entire syllabus. If you have any questions or comments about the web page or the course, please contact me.

Be sure to click on the links throughout the syllabus – some of them bring you to fun stuff!

  • Course Description
  • Learning Goals
  • Requirements
  • Course book available for purchase at the Georgetown Bookstore and on reserve at the library
  • Electronic resources useful for the course (including webpages for databases!)
  • Holiday: Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
  • Class 1 (Jan 16): Introduction to student research
  • Class 2 (Jan 23): Who gets a seat at the table of international power?
  • Class 3 (Jan 30): Democracies and the provision of public goods.
  • Class 4 (Feb 6): What kind of power does a seat at the table get you? Part 1
  • Class 5 (Feb 13): What kind of power does a seat at the table get you? Part 2
  • Class 6 (Feb 20): Stata workshop session: Learning to merge files (and writing a do-file)
  • Class 7 (Feb 27): Why do some countries have democracy and others do not?
  • (Spring Break: Mar 6-14)
  • Class 8 (Mar 13): Student presentations
  • Class 9 (*Mar 20): How do we measure economic transparency?
  • Class 10 (Mar 27): What are the consequences of economic transparency for political stability?
  • Class 11 (Apr 3): Rough drafts due. Bob Marley music break in class
  • Class 12 (Apr 10): Group reading session I
  • (Easter Break: Apr 12-16)
  • Class 13 (Apr 17): Group reading session II
  • Class 14 (Apr 24): Student presentations
  • (Classes end April 30)
  • (Study days: May 1-3)
  • May 4 Final papers due
  • There is no final exam for this course


    Course Description:
    The International Political Economy Research Lab provides the opportunity for a select group of students to pursue cutting-edge scholarly research in the area of international affairs.

    We will conduct this course as an advanced research lab for quantitative studies of international affairs. Students will work in pairs on an original research project with the ultimate goal of publication. The pairs of students will work as part of a research cluster with students working on related projects. The syllabus below provides, therefore, only a skeleton of our adventure through research. Broadly speaking, the course will address the ways in which international and domestic political institutions impact the production, distribution, and consumption of scarce resources. Proposed research themes include transparency, foreign aid, international institutions, democratization, and human rights. The final set of research themes for the course will depend on the choices of the students accepted into the class. As the class projects develop, so will our agenda. We will, for example, read and constructively comment on each other's papers. Clearly, then, students will address questions of international affairs in a research-oriented seminar.

    What does it mean to call the course "research-oriented"? At the beginning of the semester, students will have exercises to get them started on their projects. We then will transition into presenting our research to the class, providing drafts to the class to study and comment on. By the end of the semester, students should have a polished draft of a paper suitable for presentation at a research conference.

    Where you go with your project from there is up to you. Typically it takes me about two years to polish a draft of a paper suitable for submission to a journal. At that point, the paper faces tough (anonymous) reviewers who offer criticism and, ultimately, a judgment about whether to publish the research. Georgetown has decided to offer this advanced research-lab seminar to sophomores with the hope that they might continue working on their projects during their junior and senior years – eventually publishing the finished product.

    No previous experience is expected of the students – the only prerequisite is a passion for learning. That said, the course has a heavy quantitative component and all projects will involve quantitative data.

    Some of readings for the course are special. The research was conducted by undergraduate students just like you! You too can pursue publishable research in international political economy, and your path to this goal can begin in this class...

    Note that all research begins with a question, and thus the students should start with a question of their own. The course will then teach the students how to develop an answer to their question (or a hypothesis), and how to test their hypotheses. Sometimes scholars design experiments with strict control and treatment groups. but for many questions in international affairs, we are restricted to considering data provided to us by historical events, which certainly do not represent a random sample. Thus, questions of "non-random" selection will loom large over much of what we consider in this class. From a methodological point of view, we address questions of "endogeneity" and "non-random selection." In other words, we will be concerned with distinguishing the circumstances under which phenomena take place from their inherent effects.


    Learning Goals:
    The learning goals of this seminar include:

    (1) How to manage data (using STATA), (2) How to write a do-file in STATA, (3) How to write a clear, concise abstract, (4) How to conduct quantitative research in political economy, (5) How to write a research paper, (6) How to prepare papers for conferences and journal submission, (7) How to present research, (8) How to collaborate with others on a project.


    Requirements:

    This section has four parts: (1) Short writing assignments, (2) Long writing assignment, (3) Class presentations, (4) STATA, and (5) Research teams. Please read through all four parts carefully.

    Note that the course grade will be determined by class participation & attendance – including your presentations and your attention to the presentations of others (35%), short-writing assignments (30%), and the long writing assignment (35%).

      (1) Short writing assignments:

      Perhaps the most important part of the writing process is the pain of re-writing, and re-writing, and... re-writing. I intend these short assignments to build on each other week by week. For several assignments, you will revisit previous assignments, revising your earlier drafts and adding more material.


      • Jan 30: What is your research question? What is your primary dependent variable of interest? (What are you explaining?) What is your primary independent variable of interest? (What do you hypothesize does the explaining?) What kind of "selection" problems do you face? (1-2 pages, double-spaced)

      • Feb 6: Preliminary bibliography! Read 100 abstracts. Make a list of at least 20 academic articles related to your research. (But you don't have to read/study them yet.)

      • Feb 13: Data! What are the, respective, means, medians, standard deviations, minimum values, and maximum values of your main dependent and independent variables? What are the sources of these data? What is the unit of observation (e.g., country-year)? How many observations do you have of each variable? (1-2 pages, double-spaced) CLICK HERE FOR ELECTRONIC RESOURCES

      • Feb 20: Annotated bibliography! Go back to the (at least) 20 academic articles related to your research. Provide a summary sentence linking the main finding of the article to your specific project.

      • Feb 27: Merging data! What is the correlation between your independent and dependent variables?

      • Mar 13: (Preliminary) Presentations! Rough outline: (1) Research question, (2) Hypothesis, (3) Methodology, (4) Results (if any are available), (5) Conclusion (you probably won't have one yet!)

      • *Mar 20: Baseline specification! What other factors (control variables) influence your dependent variable? Multivariate regression: Just do it. (Also provide a data table with the descriptive statistics for the full set of variables for your study.)

      • Mar 27: Abstract! You should have one sentence for each of the following (in this order): (1) Research question, (2) Hypothesis, (3) Methodology, (4) Result, (5) Conclusion (total: 150 words)

      • Apr 3: Put it together! First drafts are due. So just bring everything together: (1) abstract, (2) introduction, (3) background (remember the annotated bibliography?) (4) descriptive data, (5) multivariate results, (6) conclusion (now you can write one!)

      • Apr 13: Make revisions! Based on the comments you received last class, revise/improve your draft. NOTE THE DATE. THIS DRAFT IS DUE ON A FRIDAY.

      • Apr 24: Final Presentations!

        Nota bene:
        All written assignments are due electronically by 10am on the date listed above at my email address: jrv24@georgetown.edu. Assignments should be double-spaced with 12-point font and (at least) 1 inch margins. Please be sure to familiarize yourself with Georgetown’s honor system.

        FOR EACH ASSIGNMENT, YOUR FILE **MUST** BE NAMED:

                  IPEC250_LASTNAME_####,

        WHERE "LASTNAME" REPRESENTS YOUR LAST/FAMILY NAME, AND "#" REPRESENTS THE MONTH & DAY.

        FOR EXAMPLE, THE FIRST ASSIGNMENT FOR A STUDENT NAMED Joann Gayoung Kim WOULD BE SAVED AS: IPEC250_KIM_0131

        FOR A STUDENT NAMED Sumegh Sodani, THE SECOND ASSIGNMENT WOULD BE SAVED AS: IPEC250_SODANI_0207

        If you don't name the file exactly as instructed, you may not receive credit (because the file will go astray).


      (2) Long writing assignment (rough drafts due Apr 3 & 13, final draft due May 4):
      After you "put it together," I will read your papers very carefully and give it back to you with lots of comments. You should then revise your paper and turn in the final version by May 4.

      (3) Class presentations:
      Students will make two presentations in class (noted above). I will provide detailed instructions on how to structure the presentations and give strict time limits.

      The purpose of these exercises is to give you practice for real-life presentations that you will surely make throughout your careers.

      Highly-successful past students have told me that this aspect of the course has proven the most valuable in advancing them through their careers.

      Note that the first presentation will involve only a preliminary discussion of your research plans, while the second presentation will involve more substance.

      Also note that for the first set of presentations, I will grade you more on how you treat your fellow students' presentations than on your own presentation. You should plan to pay attention to the other presentations, of course, and also to pose good questions and provide constructive feedback following the presentations.

      For the final presentation, students will be evaluated on substance and style. Regarding style, I place special emphasis on rhythm, so students should prepare to speak at a measured pace with several dramatic pauses.

      (4) STATA:
      The university has a site license for Stata. All students should install Stata on their laptops and plan to bring their laptops to class. To install Stata, please click this link to get to the GU "Software Webstore." Search for "Stata," place it in your "cart" and then "check out" for free! Then follow the (long set of) instructions to install StataIC on your laptop. THERE ARE DIFFERENT VERSIONS. MOST STUDENTS WILL WANT "IC." If you do not have a laptop and would like to borrow one for class, loaners are available – just ask me about the program. Otherwise, if you prefer to work on a desktop, you can look on in class with a member of your research team. Stata is also available on all computers in the labs on campus.

      (5) Research teams:
      Time is limited in class. Each week, we will discuss the progress that you are making on your project. In order to provide time for a thorough discussion of each research project, we need to limit the total number. So, students will work in pairs on their specific project, which will be part of a research cluster involving 4-6 students. We'll make good teams in the first weeks as we figure out who will research what questions.

      In terms of your professional development, working as part of a team and co-authoring work provide important experiences for the real world. It is common in job interviews, for example, to be asked about your experience collaborating on high-stakes projects with others.


    Course book available for purchase at the Georgetown Bookstore and on reserve at the library:


    Electronic data resources useful for the course:




    Course Outline


    Jan 16: Introduction to student research


      REQUIRED WRITING ASSIGNMENT:
      Not really a writing assignment, but get STATA on your laptop ASAP! You can get a free copy through Georgetown. To get started, click here.


    Jan 23: Who gets a seat at the table of international power?


      REQUIRED WRITING ASSIGNMENT:
    • Use the replication materials for Vreeland (2011) to produce a log file in Stata, reproducing the major results from the article. (See below for the replication materials.)


    Jan 30: Democracies and the provision of public goods.


      REQUIRED WRITING ASSIGNMENT:
    • Use the replication materials for Holkeboer & Vreeland (2011) to produce a log file in Stata, reproducing the major results from the article. (See below for the replication materials.)

    • Your project: What is your research question? What is your primary dependent variable of interest? (What are you explaining?) What is your primary independent variable of interest? (What do you hypothesize does the explaining?) What kind of "selection" problems do you face? (1-2 pages, double-spaced)


    Feb 6 (Bob Marley's birthday): Stata workshop session: Learning to merge files (and writing a do-file)


      REQUIRED WRITING ASSIGNMENT:
    • Your project: Preliminary bibliography. Read 100 abstracts. Make a list of at least 20 academic articles related to your research. (But you don't have to read/study them yet.)


    Feb 13: What kind of power does a seat at the table get you?


      REQUIRED WRITING ASSIGNMENT:
    • Use the replication materials for Lim & Vreeland (2011) to produce a log file in Stata, reproducing the major results from the article.

    • Use the replication materials for Vreeland & Dreher (2014) to produce a log file in Stata, reproducing the major results from *CHAPTER 5*.

    • Your project: Data! What are the, respective, means, medians, standard deviations, minimum values, and maximum values of your main dependent and independent variables? What are the sources of these data? What is the unit of observation (e.g., country-year)? How many observations do you have of each variable? (1-2 pages, double-spaced)


    Feb 20: Stata workshop session


      REQUIRED WRITING ASSIGNMENT:
    • Your project: Annotated bibliography. Go back to the (at least) 20 academic articles related to your research. Provide a summary sentence linking the main finding of the article to your specific project. Many of you already did this for Feb 4, so you are welcome to revise or expand what you already have. You might even want to start crafting your notes into a background section for your paper. Alternatively, if you feel comfortable with your progress on the scholarly literature, you may prefer to work on a different aspect of your paper this week (such as data work). Whatever you choose, just email me *something* to indicate your progress.

      REQUIRED READING ASSIGNMENTS:
        ***

    Feb 27: Why do some countries have democracy and others do not?


      REQUIRED WRITING ASSIGNMENT:
    • Use the replication materials for Gassebner et al. (2011) to produce a log file in Stata, reproducing the major results from the article. (See below for the replication materials.)

    • Your project: Merging data. What is the correlation between your independent and dependent variables?


    Mar 13: Student presentations


      REQUIRED READING ASSIGNMENT:
      none

    *Mar 20: How do we measure economic transparency?


      REQUIRED WRITING ASSIGNMENT:
    • Your project: Baseline specification! What other factors (control variables) influence your dependent variable? Multivariate regression: Just do it. (Also provide a data table with the descriptive statistics for the full set of variables for your study.)


    Mar 27: What are the consequences of economic transparency for political stability?


      REQUIRED WRITING ASSIGNMENT:
    • Your project: Abstract! You should have one sentence for each of the following (in this order): (1) Research question, (2) Hypothesis, (3) Methodology, (4) Result, (5) Conclusion (total: 150 words)


    Apr 3: Political Economy through the Music of Bob Marley


      REQUIRED WRITING ASSIGNMENT:
    • Your project: Put it together! First drafts are due. So just bring everything together: (1) abstract, (2) introduction, (3) background (remember the annotated bibliography?) (4) descriptive data, (5) multivariate results, (6) conclusion (now you can write one!)


    Apr 10: Group reading session I



    Apr 17: Group reading session II


      REQUIRED WRITING ASSIGNMENT:
    • Your project: *Apr 14* Make revisions! Based on the comments you received last class, revise/improve your draft.
      NOTE THE DATE. THIS DRAFT IS DUE ON A FRIDAY.


    Apr 24: Student presentations


      REQUIRED READING ASSIGNMENT:
      none





    WE ARE GLOBAL GEORGETOWN!