Gary Smith
Zoom office hours: MW 3:30 - 4:00
:25 - 1:00 on days with Zoom classes)
telephone: (909) 607-3135

Economics 57b: Economic Statistics (Carnegie 214, MW 11:10 - 12:25)


Learning Statistics by Doing Statistics

"I hear and I forget.
I see and I remember.
I do and I understand.

This course has been designed to teach statistical reasoning. The required textbooks are Gary Smith, Introduction to Statistical Reasoning, and Gary Smith, Standard Deviations: Flawed Assumptions, Tortured Data, and Other Ways to Lie with Statistics, (both available through several online sellers). I will also give you two supplemental chapters, Probability and Multiple Regression.

You can use this free user-friendly computational software or a commercial statistical package, such as STATA, or a spreadsheet program, like Excel. Also try my StatQuiz and StatGames software. Please e-mail me with any and all questions, but assignments cannot be submitted electronically, for example, as e-mail attachments.

The class schedule is below. Please read each assigned chapter before class and please come to every class. Class discussions will assume that you have read the assigned chapter beforehand. If you miss more than one class, your numerical score for the course will be reduced by 1% for each additional class you miss.

This course must be taken for a letter grade. Course grades will be based on the following:

40% team projects Randomly selected 2-person teams will work together on eight projects with the results presented via Zoom. You can choose a project from this list or make up one of your one, but you must let me know your choice ahead of time so that we don't have 6 teams doing the same project. The oral presentations can utilize Keynote, Powerpoint, or other visual aids. The class and I will give each speaker constructive suggestions. The presentations will be evaluated based on their effectiveness in conveying the intended information. They should be professional, organized, clear, and engaging so that the audience pays close attention, understands what you are trying to tell them, and retains the main points well enough to explain them to others. Avoid "um," "like," and "you know." Energy is good. Fiddling with pens, papers, and buttons is bad. Maintain eye contact and smile.

0% textbook exercises Five assigned exercises from each chapter of Introduction to Statistical Reasoning and the two supplementary chapters; you may discuss the questions with other students, but try to answer them in your own words. Answers will be posted on this web site after class on the day the assignment is due. Your homework will not be graded, but can help you learn for the material—and homework question sometimes show up on tests.

20% midterm The midterm examination is to be taken on Wednesday, October 13, from 11:10 am to 12:25 pm, and will cover Introduction to Statistical Reasoning Chapters 1 through 5, the supplementary probability chapter, and Standard Deviations Chapters 1 through 8 and 10. This will be a closed-book test emphasizing concepts, understanding, and applications. Calculators are not allowed, but you can use an 8.5 by 11 sheet of paper with notes written on one side.

40% final exam The final examination is to be taken on Friday, December 17, from 9:00 - 11:30 in the morning, and will cover all the course material. The final will be similar to the midterm in structure, but twice as long. Calculators are not allowed, but you can use an 8.5 by 11 sheet of paper with notes written on both sides.

If you want extra time on a test, you can buy time at a price of 1 point a minute; for example, if a test is handed in 10 minutes after the scheduled finish time, 10 points will be subtracted from the test score.

Covid Safety

There is a mask mandate for all indoor spaces on campus. You must wear a mask for the entire class; eating and drinking are not permitted. Your mask must cover your mouth and nose. The college has zero-tolerance for violations of this policy, which means that if you come to class unmasked you will have to leave class for the day.


Class attendance is required but if you need to miss class for health reasons, I will work with you.

The pandemic is fast-moving and there are likely to be breakthrough infections at the Claremont Colleges, so I may adjust the syllabus as the semester evolves.


Class Schedule
  Monday Wednesday
Aug 30, Sept 1 introduction Lecture: ISR Chapter 2, SD Chapters 1, 5
September 6, 8 Labor Day recess
Zoom Lecture: ISR Chapter 2, SD Chapters 1, 5
September 13, 15 Lecture: ISR Chapter 3, SD Chapter 7
Ch2 HW: 7, 14, 18, 26, 34
Lecture: ISR Chapter 4, SD Chapters 2-4
September 20, 22 Zoom: Chapter 3 projects
Ch3 HW: 2, 10, 34, 40, 50
Lecture: Supp. probability chapter, SD Chapters 6, 8, 10
Sept. 27, 29 Lecture: Supp. probability chapter, SD Chapters 6, 8, 10
Ch4 HW: 8, 18, 34, 38, 50
Lecture: ISR Chapter 5
Supp. probability HW: 24, 26, 44, 47, 51
October 4, 6 Zoom: Chapter 5 projects
Ch5 HW: 6, 12, 16, 28, 34
Lecture: ISR Chapter 6
October 11, 13 Zoom: Chapter 6 projects
Ch6 HW: 12, 26, 28, 44, 50
midterm examination
October 18, 20 fall recess
Lecture: ISR Chapter 7, SD Chapters 11-18
October 25, 37 Zoom: Chapter 7 projects
Ch7 HW: 6, 10, 30, 36, 48
Lecture ISR Chapter 8
November 1, 3 Zoom: Chapter 8 projects
Ch8 HW: 8, 18, 34, 36, 48
Lecture: ISR Chapter 10
November 8, 10 Zoom: Chapter 10 projects
Ch10 HW: 2, 6, 32, 36, 40
Lecture: ISR Chapter 11
November 15, 17 Lecture: ISR Chapter 11 Lecture: regression examples
November 22, 24 Zoom: Chapter 11 projects
Ch11 HW: 6, 8, 14, 32, 50
Thanksgiving recess
Nov 29, Dec 1 Zoom Lecture: The AI Delusion
Multiple regression HW: 6, 28, 37, 40, 41
Lecture: Regression to the Mean
December 6, 8 Zoom: multiple regression projects Lecture: Review

ISR: Introduction to Statistical Reasoning

SD: Standard Deviations


Old Tests