FIN 340: Capital Markets and Financial Management
with Todd Milbourn
FIN 600A: Field Experiments in Household Finance
This doctoral course will introduce students to field experiments in household finance. Experiments allow us to construct sharp counterfactuals—to estimate causal relationships and test theories that are otherwise hard to test using naturally occurring variation. I start with a broad introduction to the history and methods of field experiments. I cover the basics of experimental design, including ethics, consent, IRB approval, selection and recruitment, randomization, and power calculation. I will review key issues in estimation and causal inference, recapping instrumental variables estimation of treatment effects. We will then discuss some recent experimental design examples, focusing on consumption, saving, borrowing, time/risk preferences. I will also talk about the implementation process of my projects and share other institutional advice. To conclude, the students will form groups and propose a research design in a context they choose or I assign.