Technologies Used: ArcGIS; Stata (Statistical Analysis Software)
Course: Economics 1008 Deconstructing Discrimination (Winter Term 2009)
Number of Students: 20
Assistance: Jack Cuneo, a tutor in the media lab (ArcGIS help)
Anticipated Learning Outcomes: Experience with collecting data and performing empirical analysis, familiarity with the capabilities of ArcGIS software, ability to use Stata software.
Summary: “My winter term class “Deconstructing Discrimination” carried out an empirical research project to examine whether retail gasoline prices are correlated with the racial and income characteristics of neighborhoods. The project required obtaining, manipulating, and combining data from a variety of sources. We purchased gasoline price data from Oil Price International (OPIS), used ArcGIS to identify the census tract for each station, and then obtained neighborhood characteristics from the 2000 Decennial Census using Geolytics software. Finally, the students also conducted telephone surveys of the stations to collect information on station characteristics. We used Stata software to combine all of these data sets and to perform the analysis.”
Learning Outcomes: “The students, many of whom were early in their college careers, experienced the challenges of conducting original research and gained an overview of data sets, several types of software, and statistical analysis techniques. The resulting paper “Retail Redlining: Are Gasoline Prices Higher in Poor and Minority Neighborhoods” will be coauthored with four students and submitted to a scholarly journal for potential publication.”
Recommendation to Colleagues: “Although this was a winter term class and did not have formal “labs,” I found it to be helpful to hold class in the computer lab often so that we could all work together. The students also worked in groups, and I made certain that each group had a similar distribution of backgrounds and at least one member who had extensive prior experience with Stata.