As you might have noticed we have distributed a survey during some of the lectures. First of all we would like to thank everyone for filling out the survey. In this article we will present the results of this survey. We hope you enjoy reading these results. Special thanks go to Paul Peters, Sander Vromen, Corné Ruwaard and Jeroen Dalderop for their help.
Before we present our results we have to make a remark on the population. Ideally we would like to take all econometricians in Tilburg for our population, but as the Master students had already finished their lectures we decided to hold the survey only during bachelor lectures. Clearly our approach leads to a bias: students who do not regularly go to lectures are underrepresented. Furthermore there might have been some students attending who do not follow a bachelor econometrics, but are just interested in a specific subject. Last but not least we have a bias for first year students as they filled in as much surveys as the second and third year students together. Also some students did not manage to fill in the entire survey and therefore our sample is slightly smaller for some results.
The first questions in our survey had to do with education. As a measure of the performance of students we used the statistic: ECTS obtained during the first semester of this academic year (without resits), which we will abbreviate to ECTSfs. Of course we wanted to know: how do you obtain these ECTS? To answer this question we performed a regression with the following regressors: hours of study per week (including lectures), hours of study per week in the library and attendance at lectures. The results show that it probably does not really matter whether you study in the library or at home, but that it does matter whether you attend the lectures. The more lectures you attend the better; we will not go too deeply into this, because this statistic is biased as people who do not attend lectures neither got the chance to fill out the survey. Last but not least everyone would expect that hours of study has a positive coefficient, which is indeed the case and is statistically significant. Unfortunately we find that a person who attends all lectures would have to study approximately 51 hours a week to get 30 ECTS in a semester without resits. Luckily the R-squared is quite small, so keep hoping that your error term is positive.
Alcohol vs study
One of the subjects we had to consider was alcohol consumption of course. Does alcohol influence your study performance? When you simply regress ECTSfs on alcohol you would find a negative coefficient on alcohol. Of course we cannot do this and we have to take into account a correlation between the amount of alcoholic beverages drunk a week and hours of study a week. Did you ever try to study after a night out? Probably you got up at noon and opened your book at three pm. Therefore we tried a new regression: ECTSfs on alcohol and hours of study. This gives an extremely small (negative) coefficient on alcohol. The estimated coefficient is -0.00036. Even when you multiply this coefficient by twenty alcoholic beverages a week, you still get a negligible influence, ceteris paribus, on your performance. Keep in mind though that the ceteris paribus condition may be very tough due to a hangover.
Why do we drink so much? There are in fact many factors which influence the amount of alcohol we consume. To answer this question we created some dummy variables: parents from Brabant, active member of Asset | Econometrics, board member of Asset | Econometrics, member of a student association, living in lodges and female. All these dummy variables are one if true and zero if false. This result is only about Dutch students, we will consider the international ones later. A woman from Utrecht who lives at home and is not a member of any association would drink approximately 3.6 alcoholic beverages a week. A male would take almost 4 glasses extra and in Brabant they love beer and drink another 1.65 glasses. The effect of living in lodges is not that big, just two glasses extra and active members of Asset | Econometrics barely drink more than others (0.08). The biggest coefficients are on members of student associations (4.9, statistically significant) and our current board of Asset | Econometrics (5.2). Of course these numbers only hold when you keep all other things equal, and they are just approximations.
Alcohol and relationships
The results of our survey show us that 43 respondents were in a relationship in May 2012. 69, including both authors of this article, were not that lucky. People in a relationship probably drink more wine due to their romantic and intimate evenings which they spend by candlelight. Singles, and especially single men, will go hunting in the pubs, resulting in an abundant use of beer, Schrobbelèr and Goldstrike. We expect this generous abuse of beer, Schrobbelèr and Goldstrike to result in a higher average number of glasses of alcohol. So let us find out what the influence of a relationship is on the consumption of alcohol. The results of the survey show us that an average person drinks 2.4 less glasses of alcohol each week when he/she is in a relationship.
Study vs Student association
Do you remember the TIK-week and the promotional talks of the different student associations? One of those associations had a beautiful story telling us that members of student associations perform better at their study. With our data we can test this story easily. While doing this test, we do the same for the active members of Asset | Econometrics (excluding the board). The regression is ECTSfs on student association and Asset | Econometrics active. The coefficient on student association is clearly negative (-2.4), so we find no evidence for better performance there. The coefficient for active members of Asset | Econometrics is 0.053, which is positive but only marginal. These are no casual effects because we probably have correlation between the error term and our regressors. This means that we interpret these results as an average for current (active) members of these associations.
Another interesting difference could exist between Dutch and foreign students. Therefore we created two dummy’s: Asian and European (excluding Dutch). Even though we did not have that much foreigners in our sample, we can still have a look at the results. First of all we do a regression on alcohol using all factors we did already use before (except for Brabant) and the two new dummy’s. The other coefficients did not change that much; the new coefficients are -5.8 for the Asian students and -4.7 for the European students, both results are statistically significant. The following regression was study hours per week on the dummy’s and alcohol. Not surprisingly the coefficient on alcohol is negative (-0.42) and the coefficients on the dummy’s are positive. You might say though, that the coefficients on the dummy’s are quite large and also statistically significant; 13.3 for the Asians and 15.6 for the Europeans. Are we so lazy, or are they so industrious? An important question now, is whether this hard studying is effective. Therefore we did a new regression of ECTSfs using the same regressors as before, but adding some products with our dummy’s. The most interesting products are study hours per week times Asian and study hours per week times European. Both coefficients turn out to be positive, so they work harder and get even more result from it compared to Dutch students.
The observant reader could have noticed that we did not use t-tests in this article. We only made a small remark if a coefficient is statistically significant, which means that you would reject H0: the coefficient is zero; in a two-tailed t-test with a significance-level of 5%. We would like to remark though that the standard errors were quite large and that many other results are not statistically significant. A bigger problem could be endogeneity; unfortunately we cannot prove that in all cases it is justified to assume exogeneity and therefore we ask the reader to stay critical and judge themselves.
A common known term in the United States is the term ‘The Freshman Fifteen.’ American students who are going to live on campus would gain fifteen pounds each. There is a discussion about this number, but fact is that American students are not losing pounds in their first year.
|My weight is..||Frequency|
|Still the same||34|
In 2011, the UMC in Groningen did a research about this figure in the Netherlands and they drew a shocking conclusion. The freshmen gained, if living in lodges, on average 2.1 kilograms during their first three months. Our question to the econometricians was: “What has happened to your weight since you have started living in lodges?” As seen in the results, there clearly is a small growth of mass amongst the Econometricians. This growth might be bigger in reality since there might be people who lied when filling out the survey, perhaps ashamed of being fatter than before. This might be 2.1 kilograms on average, but this will not be the magical ‘Freshman Fifteen.’
|I spend … hours per week on facebook||Frequency|
|I don’t have it||9|
|0 – 1||21|
|1 – 2||26|
|2 – 5||28|
|5 or more||27|
When someone has a day off and finds some spare time, what do you do? At first you tell yourself you are going to work on your abs, but before that you start Facebook. After checking the timelines and walls of everyone you secretly admire and those of your friends, you start playing a little game (or two). Eventually your well-deserved time off is spent by doing nothing that contributes to your well-being. Your abs and your musculus triceps brachii hate you for this. For a lot of you, this story is full of recognition. Others think “Why didn’t he or she work out?” What do the econometricians do with their spare time? We take a closer look at the time spent on Facebook, videogames and physical exercise.
Due to bad questioning we cannot give a reasonable estimation of the average time spent on Facebook each week. But, our survey surely shows that nine respondents do not have a Facebook account.
A recent study showed that intelligent people have a higher risk of becoming a game addict. This thus is a risk for us, econometricians. The average number of hours spent on video games by the econometricians is about 2 hours and 20 minutes per week. The average respondent spends double this amount on physical exercise, on average about five hours a week as seen in the table. It is obvious that playing videogames and practicing sports are two completely different ways to fill your spare time. Still there is a small positive relationship between those two.
|I spend about … much hours on videogames each week||I spend about … much hours on physical exercise each week|
|1 or 2||19||38|
|3 to 5||15||28|
|6 to 10||10||24|
|11 to 15||2||7|
|16 or more||4||6|
On the 12th of September 2012, all adult Dutch men and women are invited to the voting booths to decide which people and what parties are going to represent them in the Dutch House of Representatives. This is probably going to be one of the most important elections in years, as this government is facing the urge of making giant cuts in public expenditures.
Maurice de Hond held a political poll on the 10th of June, 2012 amongst the eligible part of the Dutch population. According to this poll, the Socialistic Party of Emile Roemer would become the biggest party, with 32 of the 150 seats in the Dutch parliament. The second biggest party would be the VVD (26 seats), and third biggest party would be the PVV (24 seats) led by Geert Wilders. Many people consider econometricians to be smarter than the average eligible Dutchman. So they will probably be better at choosing a political party which is best for the country, or for themselves. Is the choice of the econometricians in Tilburg much different than the one of the eligible Dutchmen? Nekst finds out.
What would become the biggest party in the Netherlands? The clear winners are both the VVD and the D66 with 34 out of 96 correct released votes, both suited for 53 seats in the parliament. Both Mark Rutte and Alexander Pechtold would be satisfied with this result in the upcoming elections. The econometricians clearly prefer the political parties on the central and right side of Dutch politics. This implies great losses on the other side of the political spectrum.
Those clear losers are easy to find. Except for Groenlinks, all the left-oriented parties lost more than half of their seats in our econometricians’ poll. The most popular party of the eligible part of the Dutch population, the Socialistic Party, would lose 18 of their 32 seats and the Labour Party (PvdA) would go from 19 to 9 seats if the econometricians in Tilburg would be the only voters in The Netherlands. However, they would not be the biggest losers in the Dutch House of Representatives. The PVV of Geert Wilders would only get three seats, losing a stunning 21 of their 24 chairs. The people contributing to our poll probably have a positive view regarding European politics.
Another striking conclusion of our political poll is the extreme loss of all the Christian Parties, being the CDA, Christenunie and SGP. These parties will end up with respectively thirteen, six and three seats according to the poll of Maurice de Hond, but our poll amongst econometricians would get us a less Christian House of Representatives. Only one of the 96 votes was meant for a party with a Christian background, namely the CDA.
We have also asked the attendants of the lectures to grade their lives. One grade was for their lives before they went to the university, the other was for their current lives. The results are very nice. The average grade the econometricians gave their life before studying was a 7.5. Their life nowadays: 8.0. As a final question we asked if anyone expects a change in this grade for the future. Only four respondents think their grades will drop a bit, and a stunning 34 respondents expect their personal grade on life to rise; a bit (30), or a lot (4). The econometricians do expect a bright future.