Minor Econometrics - Technical Track

Minor Econometrics - Technical Track
By Just de Groot

When I had to choose a minor, I ended up with the quite vanilla choice of the econometrics minor, which I could hardly pass up with my inherent interest in econometrics. Thus, I wish to give a small overview of my experience doing this minor, with maybe some minor addendums and recommendations to those with a particular interest in certain topics. 

The econometrics minor itself has a standard and technical track, where the technical track is a little more programming/ math heavy, or that is the idea at least. The minor started with the courses ‘Introduction to Time Series and Dynamic Econometrics’, given by Quint Wiersma and Siem-Jan Koopman, and ‘Computational Methods in Econometrics’, given by Marc Nientker. The two courses were quite interesting, with the computational methods course being quite programming heavy but gave an extremely fun and strong introduction to how bootstrapping works, with a number of applications to cross-sectional and time series data, which proved to be particularly interesting when it came to implementing these in the assignments. The introduction to time series course was a bit much in my personal opinion, the course itself was well structured, but a lot of different concepts were introduced and it seemed to lack a real sort of cohesion or story it was following. A large number of concepts were introduced, which might have been better spread out over an extra course with a more in-depth approach to both, but if you are able to keep up with the material adequately and maybe dive a bit deeper in the theory yourself, you will find it a quite interesting course. 

The second period featured the courses ‘Bayesian Econometrics for Business and Economics’, ‘Empirical Economics’, and ‘Empirical Finance’. The course on bayesian econometrics gives a nice and relatively easy introduction to bayesian statistics and how its methods can be used for econometrics analysis, but does not dive very deeply into the theory behind it. If you are interested in the theory behind Bayesian statistics, the UvA gives a course on it which you can follow called ‘Bayesian Statistics’. Besides that, the empirical finance and economics courses were interesting, but are not always meant for the quantitatively minded econometrics, as they have a far more intuitive focus than econometrics usually does, where intuition is derived from the mathematics, and not directly from the results. 

The third period mainly consisted of a project, with either an economic, business, societal, or finance oriented setting. There was a wide breadth of choice, from deploying more obscure types of models, to testing the performance of metadata in academic settings, to figuring out how to best balance a portfolio, to testing how well a model performs which tries to gauge the technical savviness of employees. This project can represent an interesting change of pace and give a challenge to everyone in the minor, as it is quite easy to adjust the contents of the project to fit your capability level better, provided it passes the minimum bar of course. 

To conclude, the econometrics minor is interesting, and can give a good introduction to some interesting concepts in econometrics. However, if you are looking for a more technical challenge, it might be good to consider other courses or minors, such as courses from the Deep Programming minor, or the mathematics minor, where already one or two courses of the econometrics minor can serve your needs. 

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