About this book

As its name suggests, Introductory Statistics for Economics is a textbook intended for use in an introductory (first or second year) statistics course for economics majors. It was written for use as a textbook for ECON 233, the introductory statistics course for economics majors at Simon Fraser University.

The content is similar to most other introductory statistics courses for business and economics students, but with a few important differences. When I was assigned to teach ECON 233 I reviewed the available textbooks and found that most of them provide a somewhat dated perspective on statistical analysis at an extremely high price. I wanted a textbook that was fairly priced, combined both Excel and R, and reflected (or at least did not run counter to) contemporary thinking about issues like reproducibility, tidy data, and credible inference. The only way to get all of these features was to write my own book.

The book is available at no charge (MIT License) in HTML, PDF, and EPUB formats from https://bookdown.org/bkrauth/IS4E/. Instructors are welcome to assign it as a course textbook, but are strongly encouraged to contact me first as the book contents may change without warning.

The book itself has been created using Bookdown. Its source code is (or will be) available at https://github.com/bvkrauth/econ233, and errors or typos can be reported to me at or https://github.com/bvkrauth/econ233/issues.

Conventions of this book

This book uses consistent visual conventions to convey information.


Each chapter is meant to be covered in one full week of a typical one-semester course. Chapters are introduced with learning goals and prerequisites to review before proceeding. Practice problems are provided at the end of each chapter, and are organized by learning goal.

The chapters themselves are organized into three parts.

  • Chapters 1-5 (FUNDAMENTALS) introduce the basic theoretical concepts of probability and random variables, as well as the basic computer skills to work with data in Excel. It is a prerequisite for the later chapters.
  • Chapters 6-8 (STATISTICAL THEORY) develop the theory of statistics. These chapters assume knowledge of the material from Chapters 1-5, especially Chapters 3 and 4.
  • Chapters 9-12 (WORKING WITH DATA) teach more advanced data skills in both Excel and R. These chapters assume knowledge of the material from Chapters 1-5 (especially Chapters 2 and 5), but do not rely on Chapters 6-8.

There is also an appendix reviewing mathematical tools that are used throughout the book, but that should have been covered in a previous mathematics course.


Computer instructions including Excel formulas, R code, file names, etc. are shown in code format.

\(Mathematical\) expressions are shown in large italics.

Excel worksheet names are shown in italics. Italics are also used to emphasize important points.

New terminology is shown in bold and italics when introduced.

Variable names are shown in bold.


Pull-out information is shown in colored boxes.

Boxes like this are for showing course or chapter goals.

Example 0.1 Boxes like this are for examples

Boxes like this are for providing economic background

Boxes like this are for providing SFU-specific information.

Boxes like this are for providing optional information that might be of interest to some students.

About the author

Brian Krauth is Associate Professor of Economics at Simon Fraser University. His research and CV are available at https://briankrauth.com.