A Simple Way to Teach Regression

15 Pages Posted: 10 Jan 2020 Last revised: 5 Aug 2021

See all articles by Luke M. Froeb

Luke M. Froeb

Vanderbilt University - Owen Graduate School of Management

Date Written: August 05, 2021


This paper introduces a simple free web app that can teach regression to anyone who can point and click. Originally designed to teach Justice Department attorneys enough about regression so that they could cross examine rival experts, the app ``inverts'' the usual pedagogy: instead of showing users how to run regressions on data, it asks them to click on a graph to ``create'' data to achieve a given outcome, like a statistically significant line. Successful completion of each task is rewarded with immediate feedback that reveals the principle behind the exercise. This paper describes short, intuitive exercises to teach: (i) hypothesis testing, statistical significance and confidence intervals, (ii) the difference between correlation and causality, and (iii) how to diagnose functional form mis-specification. These exercises can be completed in just a few minutes.

Keywords: Teaching Regression; statistical significance; correlation vs. causality

JEL Classification: A2 (Economic Education)

Suggested Citation

Froeb, Luke M., A Simple Way to Teach Regression (August 05, 2021). Vanderbilt Owen Graduate School of Management Research Paper, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3507142 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3507142

Luke M. Froeb (Contact Author)

Vanderbilt University - Owen Graduate School of Management ( email )

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