Final Exam Topics 2011

Pre-Test

See also ppol225:final-exam-2011

What is Assumed?

  1. Elementary economic ideas about choice.
  2. Preference map. Indifference curves. Possibility frontier. Marginal values (rates).
  3. Previous encounters with "the multiple attribute problem"
    • Transitivity, pairwise comparisons, satisficing, lexicrographic ordering, dominated alternatives, objective functions

Final Exam

What is a Model? What is Simulation?

  1. Give an ordinary language explanation of what a model is.
  2. Describe range of things that function as models in the world
  3. Describe range of models used in social and policy sciences.
  4. Distinguish simulation from modeling.
  5. Give an example of simulation in social and policy sciences

Excel

  1. Basics
    • Use formula to calculate values based on other cells.
    • Autofill (values and formulae), use of relative and absolute cell references in formulae for autofill
    • Formatting. Alignment, font, borders and fill, number format, decimal places, conditional formatting.
    • Workspace control. Row and column width, merging cells, hiding columns, split panes, wrapping text, inserting newline in cell, text
    • Rename, move, copy worksheets.
    • Name a cell or cell range
  2. Simple Tasks
    • Create a percentage table from a data count table.
    • Use frequency() to convert list of data values into histogram
    • Use formulas, relative/absolute references, and autofill to create a "times table"
    • Pivot tables
      • Create. One, two and multidimensional. Select different value field settings. Convert to text appropriate table. Use to clean data.
    • Basic descriptive statistics with sum(), average(), mode(), median(), stddev(), frequency(), correl functions.
  3. Charts
    • Simple data range to column, bar, pie, scatter. Label and format axes, chart titles, legends, gridlines.
    • Add, remove, edit data series. Format data series (change line, point styles, add/customize labels)
    • Add/remove/format/label trendlines
    • De-junkify charts.
    • Copy charts to Word. Remove borders, select colors for greyscale reproduction.
    • Copy charts to PowerPoint.
  4. Advanced
    • Add controls for interaction (sliders, spinners, etc.) to a worksheet

MS Word

  1. Power Formatting
    • Styles
    • Page numbers
    • Sections, headers, footers
  2. Professional Bits
    • Captions and crossreferences
    • Drawing
    • Inserting images, charts, etc. and formatting text flow around them.
    • Tables
    • Equations
  3. Power Editing
    • Sophisticated search and replace
    • Paste options
    • Customizing autocorrect
    • Footnotes/endnotes
  4. Power Tools
    • Tables of contents, etc.
    • Track changes, versions, comments
    • Mailmerge
    • Citation and Bibliography tool

Flow Charts

  1. Translate complicated instruction sequence into standard flowchart
  2. Use flowchart to demonstrate stepwise refinement and blackboxing
  3. Interpret complex flow chart that includes multiple divisions of labor
  4. Offer critique and correction to a poorly form flowchart
  5. Identify and respond to typical concerns and caveats

Decision Analysis

  1. Apply basic concepts of probability (events and outcomes, and, or, conditional)
  2. Calculate expected monetary value
  3. Translate verbal description of decision process into descriptive decision tree and vice versa
  4. Use simple tree to assess a set of alternatives under uncertainty
  5. Use decision tree to calculate the value of information provided by a test (how much should we be willing to pay for information?)
  6. Solve a problem that incorporates risk aversion
  7. Solve a problem that incorporates imperfect tests
  8. Explain relationship of decision trees and utility theory
  9. Explain/distinguish related concepts: choice/chance nodes, exhaustive/mutually exclusive, folding-back, imperfect tests, risk-aversion, the value of information, utility theory
  10. Describe indications and contraindications
  11. Identify and respond to typical concerns and caveats

Charts, Tables, and Diagrams

  1. Identify when bar, column, line, pie, and scatter plots are appropriate
  2. Construct and fully document charts of various types
  3. Distinguish charts and tables
  4. Articulate and implement a protocol for naming data tables
  5. Ability to create table in Excel, transfer to Word and elegantly format and correctly document
  6. Interpret basic PERT, Gantt, and Sankey digrams
  7. Identify and respond to typical concerns and caveats

Cost/Benefit Analysis

  1. Appreciate and explain basic idea of (global/aggregate) net benefit and potential compensation
  2. Calculating net cost/benefit and marginal cost/benefit. Sketch charts of same. Interpret tables/charts.
  3. Identify four choice scenarios and the CB protocol appropriate to each.
  4. Produce and interpret flow charts describing these
  5. Explain/distinguish related concepts: cost, benefit, net, marginal, benefit/cost ratio, willingness-to-pay, compensation, cost-effectiveness,
  6. Identify and respond to typical concerns (especially separation of CB and distributional issues) and caveats

Discounting

  1. Explain in plain language what discounting is and why it is important.
  2. Dexterity in application of compound interest formula
  3. Given a schedule of costs and benefits and a discount rate, use Excel to calculate NPV both using NPV() and related functions and "by hand"
  4. Explain where discount rates come from in practice and identify rates currently used in several well known contexts
  5. Qualitatively interpret generic discount rate/PV curves
  6. Explain/distinguish related concepts: present value, discount rate, internal rate of return, break even and payback periods, opportunity cost
  7. Identify and respond to typical concerns and caveats around discount rates.

Randomness as a Tool: Random Experiments and Monte Carlo Simulation

  1. Apply basic concepts of probability (events and outcomes, and, or, conditional)
  2. Craft an argument in favor of random trials as gold standard
  3. Demonstrate understanding of random selection from different shape distributions (uniform, normal, Poisson)
  4. Use rand() and related functions and data table function in Excel to generate Monte Carlo simulation
  5. Suggest indications and contraindications, identify and respond to typical concerns and caveats

Stock & Flow Models

  1. Translate system description into stock and flow diagram
  2. Translate diagram into difference equations
  3. Describe generic system performance possibilities
  4. Find a good source for refresher on system dynamics
  5. Concepts and Terms: positive/negative feedback, causal loops, equilibrium
  6. Suggest indications and contraindications, identify and respond to typical concerns and caveats

Project Management

  1. Describe components of logic model, interpret and criticize logic model, translate project description into conventional logic model
  2. Demonstrate familiarity with existence of broad range of project management strategies
    • Gantt charts, PERT, CPM, stakeholder analysis, ISO 900x Standards
  3. Explain/describe what a PERT chart and a Gantt chart are.
  4. Explain/describe related concepts: critical path, scope, deliverables, tasks, work breakdown, activities, sequence, resource requirement, time and cost, schedule, budget, business plan, monitoring, control, outcomes assessment, evaluation
  5. Identify and respond to typical concerns and caveats

Back of the Envelope Calculations

  1. Describe general principle
  2. orders of magnitude
  3. Apply simple units of analysis assessment to ball park a problem
  4. Demonstrate awareness of making parallel assumptions (i.e., all optimistic or all pessimistic) in setting up an approximation
  5. Use BOTEC to come up with high and low estimates for a problem
  1. Identify and respond to typical concerns and caveats

Markov Models

  1. Describe general idea and types of problems that lend themselves to Markov model
  2. Describe requirements of a system to be eligible and how to solve "something else" problems
  3. ranslate between description, transition matrix, diagram
  4. From diagram, set up equations in Excel, chart results, identify equilibrium states
  5. Terms and concepts: Markov chain vs. Markov process, regular, absorbing, cyclical, state, absorbing state, transient state, eigen vecgtor, transition matrix
  6. Suggest indications and contraindications, identify and respond to typical concerns and caveats

Queuing Models

  1. Describe general idea and types of problems that lend themselves to queuing model
  2. Describe requirements of a system to be amenable to use of QM
  3. Translate between description, diagram, equations
  4. Explain why wait time is deadweight loss and nominal fees can be efficient
  5. Terms and concepts: arrivals, servers, Poisson distribution/process, wait time, deadweight loss
  6. Suggest indications and contraindications, identify and respond to typical concerns and caveats

Other Models

  1. Critical Mass Models
  2. Commons Models
  3. Coordination Models

Agent Models

  1. Suggest indications and contraindications, identify and respond to typical concerns and caveats

Linear Programming

  1. Suggest indications and contraindications, identify and respond to typical concerns and caveats

Difference Equations

  1. Suggest indications and contraindications, identify and respond to typical concerns and caveats