ECON5409 Statistics for Econometrics - 2020

Subject Code
Study Level
Commencing Term
Term 1
Total Units of Credit (UOC)
Delivery Mode
On Campus
The course outline is not available for current term. To view outlines from other year and/or terms visit the archives

1. Course Details

Summary of Course

This course provides the foundations for undertaking modern econometric methods including statistical distribution theory, asymptotic theory, mathematical methods and an introduction to statistical computing including bootstrap and simulation methods. Mastering this course will give students a deeper understanding of the statistical underpinnings of methods and knowledge acquired in other econometrics courses. Throughout the course, material will be presented in the context of simple models in order to concentrate on the concepts.

Teaching Times and Locations

Please note that teaching times and locations are subject to change. Students are strongly advised to refer to the Class Timetable website for the most up-to-date teaching times and locations.

View course timetable

Course Policies & Support

Course Aims and Relationship to Other Courses

This course aims to cover the parts of probability, statistical distribution theory and statistical inference essential for a deep understanding of econometrics. It develops the statistical foundations for econometric techniques relating to the analysis of economic and financial data. Uncertainty governs both data analyses undertaken by scientists and judgments made by all of us in our everyday lives. This course is a first look at the use of quantitative methods to handle decision making under uncertainty.

This course is designed to provide a foundation for the statistical theory covered in statistical inference and other econometrics courses. Ultimately this course aims to develop your ability to model quantitative relationships and deepen your understanding of how statistical concepts are used in econometrics, the science and art of determining what type of model to build, estimating the parameters of the model, and testing the model statistically.

The major topic will be probability theory and introductory inferential statistics. These two topics form the platform on which all statistical work is built. To understand these advanced methods, it is vital to have a background in these topics. Unfortunately, this means that we will read little applied research, and will devote most of our time to the abstract world of probability theory and the logic of statistical inference. Students who intend to take this course should keep in mind that the content is highly theoretical and analytical in nature.

In addition, the course is designed with the following aims in mind:

  • Deepen your mathematical and statistical skills;
  • Foster your analytical and critical thinking;
  • Develop your econometrics problem solving abilities.

Prerequisite mathematics knowledge is at the level of a typical second-year quantitative course equivalent to ECON 2206 Introductory Econometrics. Students are advised to revise their knowledge of ECON 1202 Quantitative Analysis for Business and Economics and ECON 1203 Business and Economic Statistics. Familiarity with algebra, calculus and elementary linear algebra is assumed. The main vehicle for understanding the material is a solid understanding of calculus: differentiation, integration, infinite series, Taylor expansions, limits, etc. No previous experience with statistics or probability (or gambling) is necessary.

Relationship to Other Courses

This course is a prerequisite for ECON3203 Econometric Theory and Methods, offered in Term 3. ECON3203 is a building block for Advanced Econometric Theory and Methods (ECON4202). Accordingly, this course is a necessary building block for advanced econometric courses at the Honours and the Postgraduate levels.

2. Staff Contact Details

Position Title Name Email Location Phone Consultation Times
Lecturer-in-chargeProfAlan WoodlandBUS416+61 2 9385 9707Friday 1pm - 2pm in Room 420, and by appointment.

Communication with staff

Students are encouraged to ask questions related to this subject during lectures when time permits and especially during tutorials.

I am also available for further consultations. Consultations are an opportunity for you to ask questions. You may need to ask about the material introduced in lectures, the problems you have attempted or questions that were not fully answered in tutorials.

For consultations at the Consultation Times, dial extension 59707 on the intercom in the fourth floor West Lobby of the UNSW Business School Building (outside the School of Economics reception). Other consultation hours may be arranged by appointment.

Emails should have a clear subject line and be sharply focused. I will usually answer your email inquiries within 48 hours (not including weekends). Discussion of course subject material will not be entered into via lengthy emails.

Student Enrolment Requests

Students can vary their own enrolment (including switching lecture streams or tutorials) via myUNSW until the end of Week 1. In general, most other student enrolment requests should be directed to The Nucleus: Student Hub (formerly Student Central). These include enrolment in full courses or tutorials, course timetable clashes, waiving prerequisites for any course, transfer-of-credit (international exchange, transfer to UNSW, cross-institutional study, etc.), or any other request which requires a decision about equivalence of courses and late enrolment for any course. Where appropriate, the request will be passed to the School Office for approval before processing. Note that enrolment changes are rarely considered after Week 2 classes have taken place.

3. Learning and Teaching Activities

Approach to Learning and Teaching in the Course

The philosophy underpinning this course and its Teaching and Learning Strategies is based on the “Guidelines on Learning that Inform Teaching at UNSW”. Specifically, the lectures, tutorials and assessment have been designed to appropriately challenge students and support the achievement of the desired learning outcomes. A climate of inquiry and dialogue is encouraged between students and teachers and among students (in and out of class). The lecturers and tutors aim to provide meaningful and timely feedback to students to improve learning outcomes.

This is not a course where you can become proficient just by observing. You will need to get involved in class activities - evaluating information, asking and answering questions. You also must learn to organise your independent study and practice enough problems to gain a thorough understanding of concepts and how to apply them.

Students are expected to:

  • Put a consistent effort into learning activities throughout the term by preparing for the regular assessment tasks;
  • Take a responsible role in preparing for tutorials and participating in them;
  • Develop communication skills through engaging in classroom discussions and preparing assignments;
  • Concentrate more on understanding how and why to use formulae and less on memorizing them;
  • Make continuous improvements by using the feedback from tutorials and assessments.

Learning Activities and Teaching Strategies

​The examinable content of the course is defined by the references given in the Lecture Schedule, the content of lectures, and the content of the Tutorial/Homework and Assignment programs. Out-of-class study is an integral part of the learning process. This course requires a solid commitment and a continuing effort.


Lectures will provide a broad coverage of the main topics considered in the course. Lectures will introduce and emphasise the course content. They will include explanation of relevant topics and theory together with the use of worked examples to demonstrate the theory in practice. However, students should not regard their content as exhaustive or full.

This is a lecture-based course, which will proceed as quickly or slowly as is necessary. Class attendance is very important for understanding the lecture notes.

It is important for the student to devote a considerable amount of time to private study to achieve an appropriate level of understanding and to practice the different econometric tools introduced. Lectures provide one of the principal means of learning instruction, but it is essential that their contribution be bolstered and supported by other learning resources.

Students are expected to develop the skills and ability to derive the results on their own. Memorizing formulae and final results will not be of a great help in the exams; only a proper ability to develop these results will ensure success.

To get the most out of the lectures, students are strongly encouraged to familiarise themselves with the prescribed text readings as given in the course outline prior to attending each lecture, and to be prepared to take notes during the lecture itself.


The more you read the more you know, but the more you practice the more you learn and understand. Accordingly, the key to the understanding of this course is problem solving.

There will be weekly tutorials. The purpose of tutorials is to enable you to raise questions about difficult topics or problems encountered in your studies, and to provide experience with problem solving. Students must not expect another lecture, but must come to tutorials prepared with informed questions of their own.

Discussion will be normally based on a sequence of exercise (homework) sheets that will be distributed regularly during the course. You are expected to make a serious attempt at all questions on an exercise sheet before attending the tutorial at which it is discussed. It will not be possible to discuss all the problems set in the allotted time and you should not expect all questions to be solved in depth at the tutorials. Some tutorial exercises (and assignments) will require the use of statistical software (Stata) to undertake calculations concerning distributions and simulations of statistical models.

In tutorials, some students may be randomly chosen to discuss their attempts to answer the tutorial problems. The aim is to encourage discussion within the classroom and to solve the issues you and your classmates have encountered with the problems.

Out-of-Class Study

While you may have preferred individual learning strategies, most learning will be achieved outside of class time. Lectures can only provide a structure to assist your study, and tutorial time is limited.

The required textbook for this course is by Miller & Miller (MM) (see the Course Resources section for more details). There is also a highly recommended book by DeGroot & Schervish (DG). You only need to buy one. The course schedule and reading guide refer to both textbooks.

You are strongly encouraged to (heavily) use the reference textbooks. Both textbooks contain exhaustive and detailed derivations of results and proofs of theorems introduced in the lectures. There are also many applications and case studies presented in the textbooks that will help you understand the possible applications for the various theoretical concepts covered in the classroom.

The reading load for this course is mild - perhaps ten to twenty pages per class. However, the work load will be high. It is important to carefully read and understand every result in the text. This requires full attention when reading the text. My advice to you is to make the book your friend and use the consultation time to come and ask for help in understanding what you read.

5. Course Resources

​The website for this course is on UNSW Moodle.

Lecture Notes: These will be available on the course website on a regular basis.

Required Textbook

  • Miller, I., & M. Miller (2014), John S. Freund’s Mathematical Statistics with Applications, 8th Edition, Pearson Prentice Hall. (MM)

The course will mostly follow Miller and Miller (MM) but will skip some topics and add some others from the additional readings. I will make copies of any extra material available to students as we progress.

Highly Recommended

  • DeGroot, M.H., & M.J. Schervish (2014), Probability and Statistics, 4th. Edition, Reading, Mass. Addison-Wesley. (DG)
  • Schervish, M.J. (2012), Student Solutions Manual (for Probability and Statistics, 4th. Edition), Boston, Mass. Addison-Wesley.

Additional Readings

  • Casella, G., & R.L. Berger (2002), Statistical Inference, Duxbury Press.
  • Hogg, R.V., & A.T. Craig (1978), Introduction to Mathematical Statistics, 4th Edition, New York: Macmillan.
  • Bierens, H.J. (2004), Introduction to the Mathematical and Statistical Foundations of Econometrics, Cambridge University Press.

Copies of DeGroot and Miller have been put in reserve at the UNSW Library.


The Stata software package will be used in the course. It is available on computers in the Quad Labs. You can also purchase your own copy from IT for use on your own computer. Students can access this software via UNSW's myAccess service. The URL is

6. Course Evaluation & Development

Feedback is regularly sought from students and continual improvements are made based on this feedback. At the end of this course, you will be asked to complete the myExperience survey, which provides a key source of student evaluative feedback. Your input into this quality enhancement process is extremely valuable in assisting us to meet the needs of our students and provide an effective and enriching learning experience. The results of all surveys are carefully considered and do lead to action towards enhancing educational quality.

​The School of Economics strives to be responsive to student feedback. If you would like more information on how the design of this course and changes made to it over time have taken students’ needs and preferences into account, please contact the Director of Education at the School of Economics.

​The School of Economics strives to be responsive to student feedback. If you would like more information on how the design of this course and changes made to it over time have taken students’ needs and preferences into account, please contact the Director of Education at the School of Economics.

7. Course Schedule

Note: for more information on the UNSW academic calendar and key dates including study period, exam, supplementary exam and result release, please visit:
Week Activity Topic Assessment/Other
Week 1: 17 FebruaryLecture


  • Probability
  • Random Variables and Distributions
  • MM: Chapters 1 & 2 & 3
  • DG: Chapters 1 & 2 & 3
Week 2: 24 FebruaryLecture


  • Expectation of Random Variables
  • MM: Chapter 4
  • DG: Chapter 4

Previous week's lecture topics

Week 3: 02 MarchLecture


  • Special Distributions


  • MM: Chapters 5 & 6
  • DG: Chapter 5
  • Assignment#1 Due

Previous week's lecture topics

Week 4: 09 MarchLecture


  • Functions of Random Variables
  • Estimation
  • MM: Chapters 7 & 10
  • DG: Chapters 3 & 7

Previous week's lecture topics

Week 5: 16 MarchLecture


  • Estimation
  • Sampling Distributions
  • MM: Chapters 8 & 10
  • DG: Chapters 6 & 7 & 8

Functions of Random Variables

Week 6: 23 MarchExam

No lectures

  • Mid-Term Examination during Friday lecture time


Week 7: 30 MarchLecture


  • Sampling Distributions
  • Simulation Methods
  • MM: Chapters 4 & 8 & 10
  • DG: Chapters 6 & 8 & 12

Sampling Distributions

Week 8: 06 AprilLecture

Lecture (Wednesday only; Friday lecture cancelled due to Easter)

  • Simulation Methods
  • MM: Chapters 4 & 8
  • DG: Chapters 6 & 12

Simulation Methods

Week 9: 13 AprilLecture


  • Hypothesis Testing


No tutorial this week due to Easter

  • MM: Chapters 12 & 13
  • DG: Chapter 9
  • Assignment#2 due
Week 10: 20 AprilLecture

Lecture (Wednesday only; no lecture on Friday)

  • Hypothesis Testing & Simulation
  • MM: Chapter 12
  • DG: Chapters 12

Hypothesis Testing

8. Policies and Support

Information about UNSW Business School protocols, University policies, student responsibilities and education quality and support.

Program Learning Outcomes

The Business School places knowledge and capabilities at the core of its curriculum via seven Program Learning Outcomes (PLOs). These PLOs are systematically embedded and developed across the duration of all coursework programs in the Business School.

PLOs embody the knowledge, skills and capabilities that are taught, practised and assessed within each Business School program. They articulate what you should know and be able to do upon successful completion of your degree.

Upon graduation, you should have a high level of specialised business knowledge and capacity for responsible business thinking, underpinned by ethical professional practice. You should be able to harness, manage and communicate business information effectively and work collaboratively with others. You should be an experienced problem-solver and critical thinker, with a global perspective, cultural competence and the potential for innovative leadership.

All UNSW programs and courses are designed to assess the attainment of program and/or course level learning outcomes, as required by the UNSW Assessment Design Procedure. It is important that you become familiar with the Business School PLOs, as they constitute the framework which informs and shapes the components and assessments of the courses within your program of study.

PLO 1: Business knowledge

Students will make informed and effective selection and application of knowledge in a discipline or profession, in the contexts of local and global business.

PLO 2: Problem solving

Students will define and address business problems, and propose effective evidence-based solutions, through the application of rigorous analysis and critical thinking.

PLO 3: Business communication

Students will harness, manage and communicate business information effectively using multiple forms of communication across different channels.

PLO 4: Teamwork

Students will interact and collaborate effectively with others to achieve a common business purpose or fulfil a common business project, and reflect critically on the process and the outcomes.

PLO 5: Responsible business practice

Students will develop and be committed to responsible business thinking and approaches, which are underpinned by ethical professional practice and sustainability considerations.

PLO 6: Global and cultural competence

Students will be aware of business systems in the wider world and actively committed to recognise and respect the cultural norms, beliefs and values of others, and will apply this knowledge to interact, communicate and work effectively in diverse environments.

PLO 7: Leadership development

Students will develop the capacity to take initiative, encourage forward thinking and bring about innovation, while effectively influencing others to achieve desired results.

These PLOs relate to undergraduate and postgraduate coursework programs.  Separate PLOs for honours and postgraduate research programs are included under 'Related Documents'.

Business School course outlines provide detailed information for students on how the course learning outcomes, learning activities, and assessment/s contribute to the development of Program Learning Outcomes.



UNSW Graduate Capabilities

The Business School PLOs also incorporate UNSW graduate capabilities, a set of generic abilities and skills that all students are expected to achieve by graduation. These capabilities articulate the University’s institutional values, as well as future employer expectations.

UNSW Graduate CapabilitiesBusiness School PLOs
Scholars capable of independent and collaborative enquiry, rigorous in their analysis, critique and reflection, and able to innovate by applying their knowledge and skills to the solution of novel as well as routine problems.
  • PLO 1: Business knowledge
  • PLO 2: Problem solving
  • PLO 3: Business communication
  • PLO 4: Teamwork
  • PLO 7: Leadership development

Entrepreneurial leaders capable of initiating and embracing innovation and change, as well as engaging and enabling others to contribute to change
  • PLO 1: Business knowledge
  • PLO 2: Problem solving
  • PLO 3: Business communication
  • PLO 4: Teamwork
  • PLO 6: Global and cultural competence
  • PLO 7: Leadership development

Professionals capable of ethical, self-directed practice and independent lifelong learning
  • PLO 1: Business knowledge
  • PLO 2: Problem solving
  • PLO 3: Business communication
  • PLO 5: Responsible business practice

Global citizens who are culturally adept and capable of respecting diversity and acting in a socially just and responsible way.
  • PLO 1: Business knowledge
  • PLO 2: Problem solving
  • PLO 3: Business communication
  • PLO 4: Teamwork
  • PLO 5: Responsible business practice
  • PLO 6: Global and cultural competence

While our programs are designed to provide coverage of all PLOs and graduate capabilities, they also provide you with a great deal of choice and flexibility.  The Business School strongly advises you to choose a range of courses that assist your development against the seven PLOs and four graduate capabilities, and to keep a record of your achievements as part of your portfolio. You can use a portfolio as evidence in employment applications as well as a reference for work or further study. For support with selecting your courses contact the UNSW Business School Student Centre.

Academic Integrity and Plagiarism

Academic Integrity is honest and responsible scholarship. This form of ethical scholarship is highly valued at UNSW. Terms like Academic Integrity, misconduct, referencing, conventions, plagiarism, academic practices, citations and evidence based learning are all considered basic concepts that successful university students understand. Learning how to communicate original ideas, refer sources, work independently, and report results accurately and honestly are skills that you will be able to carry beyond your studies.

The definition of academic misconduct is broad. It covers practices such as cheating, copying and using another person’s work without appropriate acknowledgement. Incidents of academic misconduct may have serious consequences for students.


UNSW regards plagiarism as a form of academic misconduct. UNSW has very strict rules regarding plagiarism. Plagiarism at UNSW is using the words or ideas of others and passing them off as your own. All Schools in the Business School have a Student Ethics Officer who will investigate incidents of plagiarism and may result in a student’s name being placed on the Plagiarism and Student Misconduct Registers.

Below are examples of plagiarism including self-plagiarism:

Copying: Using the same or very similar words to the original text or idea without acknowledging the source or using quotation marks. This includes copying materials, ideas or concepts from a book, article, report or other written document, presentation, composition, artwork, design, drawing, circuitry, computer program or software, website, internet, other electronic resource, or another person's assignment, without appropriate acknowledgement of authorship.

Inappropriate Paraphrasing: Changing a few words and phrases while mostly retaining the original structure and/or progression of ideas of the original, and information without acknowledgement. This also applies in presentations where someone paraphrases another’s ideas or words without credit and to piecing together quotes and paraphrases into a new whole, without appropriate referencing.

Collusion: Presenting work as independent work when it has been produced in whole or part in collusion with other people. Collusion includes:

  • Students providing their work to another student before the due date, or for the purpose of them plagiarising at any time
  • Paying another person to perform an academic task and passing it off as your own
  • Stealing or acquiring another person’s academic work and copying it
  • Offering to complete another person’s work or seeking payment for completing academic work

Collusion should not be confused with academic collaboration (i.e., shared contribution towards a group task).

Inappropriate Citation: Citing sources which have not been read, without acknowledging the 'secondary' source from which knowledge of them has been obtained.

Self-Plagiarism: ‘Self-plagiarism’ occurs where an author republishes their own previously written work and presents it as new findings without referencing the earlier work, either in its entirety or partially. Self-plagiarism is also referred to as 'recycling', 'duplication', or 'multiple submissions of research findings' without disclosure. In the student context, self-plagiarism includes re-using parts of, or all of, a body of work that has already been submitted for assessment without proper citation.

To see if you understand plagiarism, do this short quiz:


The University also regards cheating as a form of academic misconduct. Cheating is knowingly submitting the work of others as their own and includes contract cheating (work produced by an external agent or third party that is submitted under the pretences of being a student’s original piece of work). Cheating is not acceptable at UNSW.

If you need to revise or clarify any terms associated with academic integrity you should explore the 'Working with Academic Integrity' self-paced lessons available at:

For UNSW policies, penalties, and information to help you avoid plagiarism see: as well as the guidelines in the online ELISE tutorials for all new UNSW students: For information on student conduct see:

For information on how to acknowledge your sources and reference correctly, see: If you are unsure what referencing style to use in this course, you should ask the lecturer in charge.

Student Responsibilities and Conduct

​Students are expected to be familiar with and adhere to university policies in relation to class attendance and general conduct and behaviour, including maintaining a safe, respectful environment; and to understand their obligations in relation to workload, assessment and keeping informed.

Information and policies on these topics can be found on the 'Managing your Program' website.


It is expected that you will spend at least ten to twelve hours per week studying for a course except for Summer Term courses which have a minimum weekly workload of twenty to twenty four hours. This time should be made up of reading, research, working on exercises and problems, online activities and attending classes. In periods where you need to complete assignments or prepare for examinations, the workload may be greater. Over-commitment has been a cause of failure for many students. You should take the required workload into account when planning how to balance study with employment and other activities.

We strongly encourage you to connect with your Moodle course websites in the first week of semester. Local and international research indicates that students who engage early and often with their course website are more likely to pass their course.

View more information on expected workload


Your regular and punctual attendance at lectures and seminars or in online learning activities is expected in this course. The Business School reserves the right to refuse final assessment to those students who attend less than 80% of scheduled classes where attendance and participation is required as part of the learning process (e.g., tutorials, flipped classroom sessions, seminars, labs, etc.).

View more information on attendance

General Conduct and Behaviour

You are expected to conduct yourself with consideration and respect for the needs of your fellow students and teaching staff. Conduct which unduly disrupts or interferes with a class, such as ringing or talking on mobile phones, is not acceptable and students may be asked to leave the class.

View more information on student conduct

Health and Safety

UNSW Policy requires each person to work safely and responsibly, in order to avoid personal injury and to protect the safety of others.

View more information on Health and Safety

Keeping Informed

You should take note of all announcements made in lectures, tutorials or on the course web site. From time to time, the University will send important announcements to your university e-mail address without providing you with a paper copy. You will be deemed to have received this information. It is also your responsibility to keep the University informed of all changes to your contact details.

Student Support and Resources

​The University and the Business School provide a wide range of support services and resources for students, including:

Business School EQS Consultation Program
The Consultation Program offers academic writing, literacy and numeracy consultations, study skills, exam preparation for Business students. Services include workshops, online resources, individual and group consultations. 
Level 1, Room 1035, Quadrangle Building.
02 9385 4508

Communication Resources
The Business School Communication and Academic Support programs provide online modules, communication workshops and additional online resources to assist you in developing your academic writing.

Business School Student Centre
The Business School Student Centre provides advice and direction on all aspects of admission, enrolment and graduation.
Level 1, Room 1028 in the Quadrangle Building
02 9385 3189

UNSW Learning & Careers Hub
The UNSW Learning & Careers Hub provides academic skills and careers support services—including workshops, individual consultations and a range of online resources—for all UNSW students. See their website for details.
Lower Ground Floor, North Wing Chancellery Building.
02 9385 2060

Student Support Advisors
Student Support Advisors work with all students to promote the development of skills needed to succeed at university, whilst also providing personal support throughout the process.
John Goodsell Building, Ground Floor.
02 9385 4734

International Student Support
The International Student Experience Unit (ISEU) is the first point of contact for international students. ISEU staff are always here to help with personalised advice and information about all aspects of university life and life in Australia.
Advisors can support you with your student visa, health and wellbeing, making friends, accommodation and academic performance.
02 9385 4734

Equitable Learning Services
Equitable Learning Services (formerly Disability Support Services) is a free and confidential service that provides practical support to ensure that your health condition doesn't adversely affect your studies. Register with the service to receive educational adjustments.
Ground Floor, John Goodsell Building.
02 9385 4734

UNSW Counselling and Psychological Services
Provides support and services if you need help with your personal life, getting your academic life back on track or just want to know how to stay safe, including free, confidential counselling.
Level 2, East Wing, Quadrangle Building.
02 9385 5418

Library services and facilities for students
The UNSW Library offers a range of collections, services and facilities both on-campus and online.
Main Library, F21.
02 9385 2650

Moodle eLearning Support
Moodle is the University’s learning management system. You should ensure that you log into Moodle regularly.
02 9385 3331

UNSW IT provides support and services for students such as password access, email services, wireless services and technical support.
UNSW Library Annexe (Ground floor).
02 9385 1333