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A Structural Perspective on the Experimentalist School

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  • Michael P. Keane

Abstract

What has always bothered me about the "experimentalist" school is the false sense of certainty it conveys. My view, like Leamer's, is that there is no way to escape the role of assumptions in statistical work, so our conclusions will always be contingent. Hence, we should be circumspect about our degree of knowledge. I present some lessons for economics from the field of marketing, a field where broad consensus has been reached on many key issues over the past twenty years. In marketing, 1) the structural paradigm is dominant, 2) the data are a lot better than in some fields of economics, and 3) there is great emphasis on external validation. Of course, good data always helps. I emphasize that the ability to do controlled experiments does not obviate the need for theory, and finally I address different approaches to model validation.

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File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/jep.24.2.47
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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal Journal of Economic Perspectives.

Volume (Year): 24 (2010)
Issue (Month): 2 (Spring)
Pages: 47-58

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Handle: RePEc:aea:jecper:v:24:y:2010:i:2:p:47-58

Note: DOI: 10.1257/jep.24.2.47
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  1. Joshua D. Angrist & Victor Lavy, 1999. "Using Maimonides' Rule To Estimate The Effect Of Class Size On Scholastic Achievement," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(2), pages 533-575, May.
  2. Michael P. Keane & Kenneth I. Wolpin, 2007. "Exploring The Usefulness Of A Nonrandom Holdout Sample For Model Validation: Welfare Effects On Female Behavior," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 48(4), pages 1351-1378, November.
  3. Andrew Ching & Tülin Erdem & Michael Keane, 2009. "The price consideration model of brand choice," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 24(3), pages 393-420, 04.
  4. Keane, Michael P., 2010. "Structural vs. atheoretic approaches to econometrics," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 156(1), pages 3-20, May.
  5. Tülin Erdem & Michael P. Keane & Baohong Sun, 2008. "A Dynamic Model of Brand Choice When Price and Advertising Signal Product Quality," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 27(6), pages 1111-1125, 11-12.
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Cited by:
  1. Michael P. Keane & Nada Wasi, 2013. "The Structure of Consumer Taste Heterogeneity in Revealed vs. Stated Preference Data," Economics Papers 2013-W10, Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.
  2. Christopher T. Conlon & Julie Holland Mortimer, 2013. "An Experimental Approach to Merger Evaluation," NBER Working Papers 19703, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. van der Klaauw, Bas, 2014. "From Micro Data to Causality: Forty Years of Empirical Labor Economics," IZA Discussion Papers 8047, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Andrew T. Ching & Tülin Erdem & Michael P. Keane, 2013. "Learning Models: An Assessment of Progress, Challenges and New Developments," Economics Papers 2013-W07, Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.
  5. Thor O. Thoresen & Trine E. Vattø, 2013. "Validation of structural labor supply model by the elasticity of taxable income," Discussion Papers 738, Research Department of Statistics Norway.
  6. Christopher T. Conlon & Julie Holland Mortimer, 2010. "Effects of Product Availability: Experimental Evidence," NBER Working Papers 16506, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Muller, Sean, 2014. "Randomised trials for policy: a review of the external validity of treatment effects," SALDRU Working Papers 127, Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit, University of Cape Town.
  8. David I. Stern, 2011. "From Correlation to Granger Causality," Crawford School Research Papers 1113, Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University.
  9. Christopher T. Conlon & Julie Holland Mortimer, 2008. "Demand Estimation Under Incomplete Product Availability," NBER Working Papers 14315, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Breitmoser, Yves, 2013. "Estimation of social preferences in generalized dictator games," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 121(2), pages 192-197.
  11. Michael P. Keane, 2013. "Panel data discrete choice models of consumer demand," Economics Papers 2013-W08, Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.
  12. Bolle, Friedel & Breitmoser, Yves & Otto, Philipp E., 2011. "A positive theory of cooperative games: The logit core and its variants," MPRA Paper 32918, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  13. Niu, Yongzhi, 2010. "Taxpayers' Response to Warnings of a Possible Tax Audit: Do They Change Their Compliance Behavior?," MPRA Paper 25551, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  14. Sean Muller, 2012. "Econometric methods and Reichenbach's principle," SALDRU Working Papers 85, Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit, University of Cape Town.

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