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Treatment effect heterogeneity in theory and practice

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  • Joshua D. Angrist

Abstract

Instrumental Variables (IV) methods identify internally valid causal effects for individuals whose treatment status is manipulable by the instrument at hand. Inference for other populations requires homogeneity assumptions. This paper outlines a theoretical framework that nests causal homogeneity assumptions. These ideas are illustrated using sibling-sex composition to estimate the effect of childbearing on economic and marital outcomes. The application is motivated by American welfare reform. The empirical results generally support the notion of reduced labour supply and increased poverty as a consequence of childbearing but evidence on the impact of childbearing on marital stability and welfare use is more tenuous. Copyright 2004 Royal Economic Society.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Royal Economic Society in its journal The Economic Journal.

Volume (Year): 114 (2004)
Issue (Month): 494 (03)
Pages: C52-C83

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Handle: RePEc:ecj:econjl:v:114:y:2004:i:494:p:c52-c83

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References

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  1. Joshua D. Angrist & Guido W. Imbens, 1995. "Identification and Estimation of Local Average Treatment Effects," NBER Technical Working Papers 0118, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Rebecca M. Blank, 2002. "Evaluating Welfare Reform in the United States," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 40(4), pages 1105-1166, December.
  3. Angrist, J.D. & Imbens, G.W., 1991. "Sources of Identifying Information in Evaluation Models," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1568, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  4. Hausman, Jerry A, 1978. "Specification Tests in Econometrics," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(6), pages 1251-71, November.
  5. Heckman, James J, 1990. "Varieties of Selection Bias," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(2), pages 313-18, May.
  6. James Heckman & Justin L. Tobias & Edward Vytlacil, 2001. "Four Parameters of Interest in the Evaluation of Social Programs," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 68(2), pages 210-223, October.
  7. Melissa Schettini Kearney, 2004. "Is There an Effect of Incremental Welfare Benefits on Fertility Behavior?: A Look at the Family Cap," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 39(2).
  8. Chamberlain, Gary, 1987. "Asymptotic efficiency in estimation with conditional moment restrictions," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 34(3), pages 305-334, March.
  9. Becker, Gary S & Landes, Elisabeth M & Michael, Robert T, 1977. "An Economic Analysis of Marital Instability," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 85(6), pages 1141-87, December.
  10. Abadie A., 2002. "Bootstrap Tests for Distributional Treatment Effects in Instrumental Variable Models," Journal of the American Statistical Association, American Statistical Association, vol. 97, pages 284-292, March.
  11. Jeff Grogger & Stephen G. Bronars, 2001. "The Effect of Welfare Payments on the Marriage and Fertility Behavior of Unwed Mothers: Results from a Twins Experiment," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 109(3), pages 529-545, June.
  12. Manski, Charles F, 1990. "Nonparametric Bounds on Treatment Effects," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(2), pages 319-23, May.
  13. Wooldridge, Jeffrey M., 2003. "Further results on instrumental variables estimation of average treatment effects in the correlated random coefficient model," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 79(2), pages 185-191, May.
  14. Abadie, Alberto, 2003. "Semiparametric instrumental variable estimation of treatment response models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 113(2), pages 231-263, April.
  15. V. Joseph Hotz & Guido W. Imbens & Jacob A. Klerman, 2000. "The Long-Term Gains from GAIN: A Re-Analysis of the Impacts of the California GAIN Program," NBER Working Papers 8007, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Wooldridge, Jeffrey M., 1997. "On two stage least squares estimation of the average treatment effect in a random coefficient model," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 56(2), pages 129-133, October.
  17. Alberto Abadie & Joshua Angrist & Guido Imbens, 1999. "Instrumental Variables Estimates of the Effect of Subsidized Training on the Quantiles of Trainee Earnings," Working papers 99-16, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  18. Joshua Angrist, 1999. "Estimation of Limited-Dependent Variable Models with Dummy Endogenous Regressors: Simple Strategies for Empirical Practice," Working papers 99-31, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  19. Angrist, Joshua D & Evans, William N, 1998. "Children and Their Parents' Labor Supply: Evidence from Exogenous Variation in Family Size," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(3), pages 450-77, June.
  20. Tim Heaton, 1990. "Marital stability throughout the child-rearing years," Demography, Springer, vol. 27(1), pages 55-63, February.
  21. James J. Heckman & Edward J. Vytlacil, 2000. "Local Instrumental Variables," NBER Technical Working Papers 0252, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  22. Moffitt, Robert A., 1999. "New developments in econometric methods for labor market analysis," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 24, pages 1367-1397 Elsevier.
  23. Bronars, Stephen G & Grogger, Jeff, 1994. "The Economic Consequences of Unwed Motherhood: Using Twin Births as a Natural Experiment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(5), pages 1141-56, December.
  24. Frolich, Markus, 2007. "Nonparametric IV estimation of local average treatment effects with covariates," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 139(1), pages 35-75, July.
  25. Andrew Cherlin, 1977. "The effect of children on marital dissolution," Demography, Springer, vol. 14(3), pages 265-272, August.
  26. J.D. Angrist & Guido W. Imbens & D.B. Rubin, 1993. "Identification of Causal Effects Using Instrumental Variables," NBER Technical Working Papers 0136, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  27. Peter C.B. Phillips, 2003. "Vision and Influence in Econometrics: John Denis Sargan," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1393, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  28. Arellano, Manuel, 2002. "Sargan's Instrumental Variables Estimation and the Generalized Method of Moments," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 20(4), pages 450-59, October.
  29. Chamberlain, Gary, 1986. "Asymptotic efficiency in semi-parametric models with censoring," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 32(2), pages 189-218, July.
  30. Joshua D. Angrist, 1991. "Instrumental Variables Estimation of Average Treatment Effects in Econometrics and Epidemiology," NBER Technical Working Papers 0115, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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