For questions that are not about formal economic or econometric models and techniques, their implementations using programs and languages or do not include references to, are not about data standards, or are not based on academic sources.

Brief Description: All questions that aren't "expert-level questions" be tagged as a question. As a rule of thumb, the kind of question that a PhD student or higher would ask or encounter in a PhD-level class is an expert-level question. More detailed guidelines are provided below. These criteria were formalized in this meta post.

Detailed description:

Guidelines: An "expert" question should contain ONE OR MORE the following properties.

  1. Deals with a formal economic or econometric model. This includes questions about mathematical or statistical techniques.
  2. Questions about computational implementation.
  3. The question includes a reference to a peer-reviewed journal or a high-quality working paper series.
  4. The question is about a data standard or data codebook, provided a link to the data codebook or data reference guide is provided. This does NOT include questions about a particular event in a data set. Such questions must satisfy one of the previous three criteria to be considered.


  • The criteria defining an expert-level question is seen as a set of guidelines. This may be modified in the future if it is too inflexible. As a rule of thumb, I would suggest that if it is the kind of question that a PhD student or higher would ask or encounter in a PhD-level class, then it counts.
  • A question can still be an expert question without having any mathematical rigor as long as it references a research paper (peer-reviewed journal or high-quality working paper). This acts as a way to signal quality of a question. Remember, signals must be costly to be credible!
  • The set of criteria defining an expert-level question is fairly objective, which should help to resolve concerns about meta-tags.
  • We should continue to strictly enforce the policy of closing off-topic questions, poorly crafted questions, and pure homework questions. We should also continue to invite experts, etc. I propose that we also institute a policy that every question that doesn't meet the standards of being considered an expert-level question MUST be tagged as .

Examples of Expert Questions

The following illustrate questions that satisfy one or more of the above criteria:

  • This first question is an example of an expert question because it is a question about an econometric technique, satisfying criterion (1). It doesn't specifically reference a particular paper, but deals with a specific econometric technique. Bartik Instrument Intuition
  • This is also an expert question under criterion (1). It doesn't include a reference to a specific peer-reviewed paper, but it is a question that mathematically describes an economic model. Optimal consumption in Merton-like portfolio choice model with constant wage
  • This question satisfies (1) because deals with a mathematical technique. It doesn't include questions and doesn't outline a specific model. However, it does reference a mathematical concept. For this reason, it's an expert question. Note that it does include a reference to a textbook, but this book is NOT a peer-reviewed journal article as required by criterion (3). Intuition of the Kolmogorov Equations
  • This question is an expert question because it concerns the computational implementation of an econometric model. It provides some example code and a description of what they are trying to accomplish. This qualifies under (2). Extract residuals from Uhlig's rejection method - Lag selection
  • This question somewhat broad and does not include equations or a specific model. It's a somewhat "chatty" question. However, it does reference a specific result from a peer-reviewed paper. Admittedly, it could be improved by providing a reference to the specific paper---but it DOES include a link to the Wikipedia page about the specific set of papers.. This is an expert question under (3). The Sonnenschein-Mantel-Debreu results, what are the implications for macroeconomics?
  • This question doesn't pertain to a specific model nor does it include a reference to a peer-reviewed journal article. However, the question regards interpreting a commonly used data set/data standard and it does includes a reference to the data guidebook. This qualifies as an expert question under (4). What's the difference (if any) between "fixed assets" and "fixed capital" in the UN SNA?

Acknowledgment: This proposal was formulated in conjunction with @1muflon1. It is a slight modification of the other proposal about the "beginner" tag.