This course will show how "big data" can be used to understand and address some of the most important social and economic problems of our time. The course will give students an introduction to frontier research and policy applications in economics and social science in a non-technical manner that does not require prior coursework in Economics or Statistics, making it suitable both for students exploring Economics for the first time and more advanced students. Topics include equality of opportunity, education, innovation and entrepreneurship, health care, climate change, and crime. In the context of these topics, the course will also provide an introduction to basic methods in data science, including regression, causal inference, and machine learning. The course will include discussions with leading practitioners who use big data in real-world applications.
Also offered by the Economics Department as Econ 50. Please note, this is a jointly offered course hosted by another Harvard school and, accordingly, students must adhere to the academic and attendance policies of that school. Please note, students registering under HKS SUP-135 must have a background in statistics/econometrics and can only take a section that requires that.