Introduction to Econometrics (title of the original) is an introductory text book of econometrics, aimed at anyone who would like to take up empirical analysis using real data.
The real world is a complex place, filled with opposing views and questions that need answers. Econometrics is a field of study that brings together a variety of tools for providing reliable answers to these questions.
The biggest feature of this book is its pragmatic approach to learning the various measurement techniques through the example of real-world problems. Books on this subject have traditionally begun by addressing econometric theory and the assumptions behind it before going on to empirical analysis. This book, however, first puts forward a real-world question (for instance, do elementary school students learn better when classes have fewer students?), and students learn the necessary analytical techniques and appropriate econometric theory in the process of trying to find an answer to the question. There are empirical exercises at the end of each chapter, which allow students to gain a deeper understanding of the subject by analyzing the data themselves. The book is designed to allow readers to set themselves a question and perform their own quantitative analysis.
Another important characteristic of the book is that it is suitable self-study material for beginners. It is written in an easy yet thorough style, with each step of an argument explained in ordinary language that can be understood by beginners with no background knowledge. Like all great text books, this book also fills in the spaces between the lines. It offers many resources for the learner, including programs for the replication of the empirical results presented in the book, and suggested answers for the exercises. Students who work their way through the book will be guided from the most elementary level to an almost advanced level in the field.
The authors, Professor James Stock (Harvard University) and Professor Mark Watson (Princeton University), are two of the world’s leading econometricists. I met Prof. Stock in 1990 when I was studying in the U.S. At that time, I was enrolled in the Ph.D. program at Harvard University and took Prof. Stock’s advanced econometrics lecture as part of my coursework during the first year. The lecture was about time-series analysis, which is discussed in Chapter IV of this book. Time-series analysis is now regarded as an indispensable tool for empirical research in fields ranging from macroeconomics to finance and international banking, but the early 1990s was when both the theory and application of this technique began to make great strides and become widely used in academic circles. In Prof. Stock’s lecture, I learned that the technique was useful for verifying real-life economic and policy-related problems, and the strong impression it made on me is still vivid in my memory.
The original of this book is widely used in many of the leading universities abroad. In translating the book, written by the world’s leading experts in the subject, I was strongly motivated by the desire to make it accessible to Japanese readers as well. As the translator, I truly hope that this book will introduce more people to the fascinating and insightful world of econometrics and inspire them to take up empirical analyses.
(Written by Ryuzo Miyao, Professor, Graduate School of Economics / 2017)