Econometrics for Policymakers (WWS 508B)

Provides a thorough examination of statistical methods employed in public policy analysis, with a particular emphasis on regression methods which are frequently employed in research across the social sciences. This course emphasizes intuitive understanding of the central concepts, and develops in students the ability to choose and employ the appropriate tool for a particular research problem, and understand the limitations of the techniques.

In the picture, Woodrow Wilson School MPA students and I celebrating the end of the semester

Rating 1-5: 5 (excellent, 14 out of 14) 

Complete list of student evaluations. 

Joan is the most approachable and responsive preceptor I have had at Princeton. He was ready to answer any question I threw at him - from basic Stata questions to higher-level research-design questions. I would not have been able to do original research in statistics without his assistance and commitment to individually support each student in this course. He went far and above the call of duty to extend office hours and make himself available to all of us. I am so grateful that he was our preceptor. He will be an excellent professor. Just like us, his future students will learn a lot from him because he never makes you feel a question is too basic - which encourages his students to engage more fully with their work and ask the questions they need to "connect the dots" and learn material deeply.

Joan's assistance was critical to the completion of my project. He brought his mastery of econometrics and statistics to bear throughout the duration of the project, which investigated the validity of Okun's law in African Economies. I personally appreciate the fact that he instructed me not necessarily on what to think but on how to think about the questions I sought to answer in my paper. In addition to personally assisting with navigating Stata, he also provided me with enough literature to figure things out on my own at several points. He is very responsive and provides responses to students questions within 24 hours. Overall, working with Joan was a pleasant learning experience!

Very attentive, available, and engaged. Knew that he cared about my success in the class.

Joan's availability, generosity with his time, and patience are unparalleled in any other preceptor--or professor--I have had, at the Wilson School or even as an undergraduate. He has a natural comfort with and talent for interacting with students, which put us at ease and made us more confident pursuing projects outside our comfort zones (and expertise). His support was indispensable for my project, especially in the early stages. And his fluency with stata and critical thinking regarding statistical analysis also proved very helpful at every stages of the process, as I conceptualized my question, designed my project, and executed the analysis. Joan has been amazing from start to finish - I hope I get to work with him again in the future!

Joan was a super-hero. He taught me essential STATA functions and how to interpret their outputs as they applied to my projects. He patiently broke down concepts for me, sat with me when I forgot what he had helped me do earlier, and responded to my emails promptly. He helped me at practically each step of the course project from clarifying the research question to creating the final graphs and figures. Without him, I'm sure that 95% of this course would have slipped past me without personal comprehension. Thank God for Joan!

Joan is an outstanding assistant instructor. He made himself available through office hours for a large part of each week and was even willing to take additional hours out of his busy schedule to meet with students if the office hours didn't work. My project was greatly strengthened by his advice, as each time I came in with questions he would talk through the different options with me and explain how to code each of them in Stata. I am immensely grateful for his help! Joan is an excellent instructor and a great guy.

Joan was hands down my favorite preceptor of the academic year. I utilized his office hours very frequently because he was not only clear and precise in his explanations of the concepts, but was patient and kind with how long it took me to understand them and how they applied to my project. I honestly do not think I would have been able to complete this project without his help. I hope for the sake of future students that Joan continues to precept, and hope he continues teaching, because he's very talented!

Proof that not all superheroes wear capes.


I could absolutely not have done my project without Joan's help! He made diving into Stata approachable, and was responsive not only during meeting times, but also by email. He made working on my project enjoyable and fun, and I feel encouraged to take on more statistical analysis in the future.

Joan was an amazing preceptor and source of instruction and support to our class and to me personally. He seemed earnestly interested in our work and helping us. He helped flesh out ideas, troubleshoot problems, improve how we use Stata, and correctly interpret findings. He made himself available above and beyond what was required and seemed to get real fulfillment from assisting us. 5 out of 5 stars.

I wouldn't have learned anything in this course without Joan! Ok that might be a bit extreme, but there is no way I would have done my project without his troubleshooting. He was extremely responsive, very compassionate, and explained things very clearly.

Given the similarities in our research interests (effects of colonization on outcomes in former colonies), I found that Joan gave excellent advice about where to look for inspiration in the existing literature. This was in addition to his ability to clearly translate my research questions into Stata code. He was incredibly patient and understanding at times when I myself felt frustrated with my project. I wholeheartedly endorse Joan's contribution to the course and I know other classmates would as well.