Economics 227: Statistics for Business and Economics

Course Description:

This course provides an introduction to the use of statistics. Topics include descriptive statistics, introductory probability, estimates and confidence intervals, hypothesis testing, regression, and time series analysis.

As a rule, meaningful statistical work is done on computers, and this course recognizes that fact. Computers will be used extensively. You should already be familiar with Excel, or a similar spreadsheet program. SPSS, a more specialized statistical program, will be introduced as well. And, while not all work will require a computer, a computer will always be available to you.

The topics of this course represent a powerful set of tools for learning about the world, both as a student here at IWU and in your future career. Recently, top seniors have done research projects on questions such as:

  • Economics: Can we predict, ahead of time, which less-developed countries will default on their loans?
  • Finance: Can we infer, from price movements in the German stock market, how German business perceived reunification?
  • Marketing: Do theories from psychology, about how people will feel and act in different environments, apply to retail stores?

And graduates, in their careers, routinely face questions such as:

  • Auditing: Are the company's books being kept properly?
  • Economics: If the Fed tightens credit, how will that affect our firm?
  • Marketing: Will a proposed new product be popular with our customers?
  • Personnel: How do the salaries of our male and female employees compare?

Statistical tools are useful for addressing these, and a great many other interesting questions, in almost any field.

Prerequisite: None

Grades determined by three in-class exams, numerous graded exercises, and a comprehensive final exam.