Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

The Credibility Revolution in Empirical Economics: How Better Research Design is taking the Con out of Econometrics

Contents:

Author Info

  • Joshua D. Angrist
  • Jörn-Steffen Pischke

Abstract

This essay reviews progress in empirical economics since Leamer's (1983) critique. Leamer highlighted the benefits of sensitivity analysis, a procedure in which researchers show how their results change with changes in specification or functional form. Sensitivity analysis has had a salutary but not a revolutionary effect on econometric practice. As we see it, the credibility revolution in empirical work can be traced to the rise of a design-based approach that emphasizes the identification of causal effects. Design-based studies typically feature either real or natural experiments and are distinguished by their prima facie credibility and by the attention investigators devote to making the case for a causal interpretation of the findings their designs generate. Design-based studies are most often found in the microeconomic fields of Development, Education, Environment, Labor, Health, and Public Finance, but are still rare in Industrial Organization and Macroeconomics. We explain why IO and Macro would do well to embrace a design-based approach. Finally, we respond to the charge that the design-based revolution has overreached.

Download Info

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
File URL: http://cep.lse.ac.uk/pubs/download/dp0976.pdf
Download Restriction: no

Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Centre for Economic Performance, LSE in its series CEP Discussion Papers with number dp0976.

as in new window
Length:
Date of creation: May 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cep:cepdps:dp0976

Contact details of provider:
Web page: http://cep.lse.ac.uk/_new/publications/series.asp?prog=CEP

Related research

Keywords: research design; natural experiment; quasi-experiment; structural models;

Other versions of this item:

Find related papers by JEL classification:

This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

References

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
as in new window
  1. Orley Ashenfelter, 1990. "Non-Parametric Estimates of the Labor Supply Effects of Negative Income Tax Programs," Working Papers 639, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  2. Orley Ashenfelter & Daniel Hosken, 2008. "The Effect of Mergers on Consumer Prices: Evidence from Five Selected Case Studies," NBER Working Papers 13859, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Imbens, Guido W. & Lemieux, Thomas, 2008. "Regression discontinuity designs: A guide to practice," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 142(2), pages 615-635, February.
  4. Valerie A. Ramey & Matthew D. Shapiro, 1999. "Costly Capital Reallocation and the Effects of Government Spending," NBER Working Papers 6283, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Ashenfelter, Orley, 1987. "The case for evaluating training programs with randomized trials," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 6(4), pages 333-338, August.
  6. John J. Donohue III & Justin Wolfers, 2006. "Uses and Abuses of Empirical Evidence in the Death Penalty Debate," NBER Working Papers 11982, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Ernst Fehr & Lorenz Gotte, 2002. "Do workers work more if wages are high? Evidence from a randomized field experiment," Natural Field Experiments 00240, The Field Experiments Website.
  8. Ehrlich, Isaac, 1977. "Capital Punishment and Deterrence: Some Further Thoughts and Additional Evidence," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 85(4), pages 741-88, August.
  9. Miguel Urquiola & Eric A. Verhoogen, 2007. "Class size and sorting in market equilibrium: Theory and evidence," Discussion Papers, Columbia University, Department of Economics 0607-14, Columbia University, Department of Economics.
  10. Dean S. Karlan & Jonathan Zinman, 2005. "Observing Unobservables: Identifying Information Asymmetries with a Consumer Credit Field Experiment," Working Papers, Economic Growth Center, Yale University 911, Economic Growth Center, Yale University.
  11. Raghuram G. Rajan & Arvind Subramanian, 2005. "Aid and Growth: What Does the Cross-Country Evidence Really Show?," NBER Working Papers 11513, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Angus Deaton, 2009. "Instruments of development: Randomization in the tropics, and the search for the elusive keys to economic development," Working Papers 1128, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Center for Health and Wellbeing..
  13. Gary Solon, 1984. "Work Incentive Effects of Taxing Unemployment Benefits," NBER Working Papers 1260, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Brian A. Jacob, 2004. "Public Housing, Housing Vouchers, and Student Achievement: Evidence from Public Housing Demolitions in Chicago," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(1), pages 233-258, March.
  15. Joshua D. Angrist & Stacey H. Chen, 2009. "Long-Term Economic Consequences of Vietnam-Era Conscription: Schooling, Experience and Earnings," Royal Holloway, University of London: Discussion Papers in Economics, Department of Economics, Royal Holloway University of London 09/02, Department of Economics, Royal Holloway University of London.
  16. Ashenfelter, Orley C, 1978. "Estimating the Effect of Training Programs on Earnings," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 60(1), pages 47-57, February.
  17. Card, David & Krueger, Alan B, 1992. "School Quality and Black-White Relative Earnings: A Direct Assessment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 107(1), pages 151-200, February.
  18. White, Halbert, 1980. "Using Least Squares to Approximate Unknown Regression Functions," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 21(1), pages 149-70, February.
  19. Aviv Nevo, 2000. "Mergers with Differentiated Products: The Case of the Ready-to-Eat Cereal Industry," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 31(3), pages 395-421, Autumn.
  20. Ehrlich, Isaac & Liu, Zhiqiang, 1999. "Sensitivity Analyses of the Deterrence Hypothesis: Let's Keep the Econ in Econometrics," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 42(1), pages 455-87, April.
  21. Hausman, Jerry A & Leonard, Gregory K, 2002. "The Competitive Effects of a New Product Introduction: A Case Study," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 50(3), pages 237-63, September.
  22. Isaac Ehrlich, 1973. "The Deterrent Effect of Capital Punishment: A Question of Life and Death," NBER Working Papers 0018, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  23. Cecilia Elena Rouse, 1998. "Private School Vouchers And Student Achievement: An Evaluation Of The Milwaukee Parental Choice Program," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 113(2), pages 553-602, May.
  24. Nunn, Nathan, 2007. "The Long-Term Effects of Africa's Slave Trades," MPRA Paper 4134, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  25. Card, David, 1990. "Unexpected Inflation, Real Wages, and Employment Determination in Union Contracts," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(4), pages 669-88, September.
  26. Olivier Deschênes & Michael Greenstone, 2007. "Climate Change, Mortality, and Adaptation: Evidence from Annual Fluctuations in Weather in the US," NBER Working Papers 13178, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  27. François Velde, 2006. "Chronicles of a deflation unforetold," Working Paper Series, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago WP-06-12, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  28. Benjamin J. Keys & Tanmoy Mukherjee & Amit Seru & Vikrant Vig, 2010. "Did Securitization Lead to Lax Screening? Evidence from Subprime Loans," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 125(1), pages 307-362, February.
  29. Christina D. Romer & David H. Romer, 2010. "The Macroeconomic Effects of Tax Changes: Estimates Based on a New Measure of Fiscal Shocks," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(3), pages 763-801, June.
  30. N. Gregory Mankiw, 2006. "The Macroeconomist as Scientist and Engineer," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 20(4), pages 29-46, Fall.
  31. Joshua D. Angrist & Guido M. Kuersteiner, 2004. "Semiparametric Causality Tests Using the Policy Propensity Score," NBER Working Papers 10975, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  32. 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, MIT Press, vol. 114(2), pages 533-575, May.
  33. James J. Heckman & Sergio Urzua, 2009. "Comparing IV With Structural Models: What Simple IV Can and Cannot Identify," NBER Working Papers 14706, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  34. Albouy, David, 2006. "The Colonial Origins of Comparative Development: An Investigation of the Settler Mortality Data," Center for International and Development Economics Research, Working Paper Series, Center for International and Development Economics Research, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkele qt8kt576x8, Center for International and Development Economics Research, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
  35. Stefano DellaVigna & M. Daniele Paserman, 2005. "Job Search and Impatience," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 23(3), pages 527-588, July.
  36. Finn E. Kydland & Edward C. Prescott, 1994. "The computational experiment: an econometric tool," Staff Report, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis 178, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  37. Jeffrey R Kling & Jeffrey B Liebman & Lawrence F Katz, 2007. "Experimental Analysis of Neighborhood Effects," Econometrica, Econometric Society, Econometric Society, vol. 75(1), pages 83-119, 01.
  38. Borenstein, Severin, 1990. "Airline Mergers, Airport Dominance, and Market Power," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(2), pages 400-404, May.
  39. Summers, Anita A & Wolfe, Barbara L, 1977. "Do Schools Make a Difference?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 67(4), pages 639-52, September.
  40. Eric A. Hanushek & John F. Kain & Steven G. Rivkin, 1998. "Teachers, Schools, and Academic Achievement," NBER Working Papers 6691, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  41. Angrist, Joshua D, 1990. "Lifetime Earnings and the Vietnam Era Draft Lottery: Evidence from Social Security Administrative Records," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(3), pages 313-36, June.
  42. Orley Ashenfelter & Daniel Hosken & Matthew Weinberg, 2009. "Generating Evidence to Guide Merger Enforcement," CPI Journal, Competition Policy International, vol. 5.
  43. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson, 2000. "The Colonial Origins of Comparative Development: An Empirical Investigation," NBER Working Papers 7771, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  44. McCrary, Justin, 2008. "Manipulation of the running variable in the regression discontinuity design: A density test," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 142(2), pages 698-714, February.
  45. Passell, Peter & Taylor, John B, 1977. "The Deterrent Effect of Capital Punishment: Another View," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 67(3), pages 445-51, June.
  46. Paul Schultz, T., 2004. "School subsidies for the poor: evaluating the Mexican Progresa poverty program," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 74(1), pages 199-250, June.
  47. Angrist, Joshua D, 1990. "Lifetime Earnings and the Vietnam Era Draft Lottery: Evidence from Social Security Administrative Records: Errata," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(5), pages 1284-86, December.
  48. Hoyt Bleakley, 2007. "Disease and Development: Evidence from Hookworm Eradication in the American South," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 122(1), pages 73-117, 02.
  49. Guido W. Imbens, 2009. "Better LATE Than Nothing: Some Comments on Deaton (2009) and Heckman and Urzua (2009)," NBER Working Papers 14896, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  50. Leamer, Edward E, 1985. "Sensitivity Analyses Would Help," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(3), pages 308-13, June.
  51. Robert J. Barro & Charles J. Redlick, 2009. "Macroeconomic Effects from Government Purchases and Taxes," NBER Working Papers 15369, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  52. Stefano DellaVigna & Ulrike Malmendier, 2006. "Paying Not to Go to the Gym," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(3), pages 694-719, June.
  53. Michael Conlin & Ted O'Donoghue & Timothy J. Vogelsang, 2007. "Projection Bias in Catalog Orders," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(4), pages 1217-1249, September.
  54. Manning, Willard G, et al, 1987. "Health Insurance and the Demand for Medical Care: Evidence from a Randomized Experiment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(3), pages 251-77, June.
  55. Sims, Christopher A, 1988. "Uncertainty across Models," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(2), pages 163-67, May.
  56. Greenberg, David & Halsey, Harlan, 1983. "Systematic Misreporting and Effects of Income Maintenance Experiments on Work Effort: Evidence from the Seattle-Denver Experiment," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 1(4), pages 380-407, October.
  57. Justine S. Hastings, 2004. "Vertical Relationships and Competition in Retail Gasoline Markets: Empirical Evidence from Contract Changes in Southern California," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(1), pages 317-328, March.
  58. McAleer, Michael & Pagan, Adrian R & Volker, Paul A, 1985. "What Will Take the Con out of Econometrics?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(3), pages 293-307, June.
  59. Jonathan B. Baker, 2003. "The Case for Antitrust Enforcement," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 17(4), pages 27-50, Fall.
  60. Gerald S. Oettinger, 1999. "An Empirical Analysis of the Daily Labor Supply of Stadium Vendors," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(2), pages 360-392, April.
  61. James Heckman, 1997. "Instrumental Variables: A Study of Implicit Behavioral Assumptions Used in Making Program Evaluations," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 32(3), pages 441-462.
  62. Ehrlich, Isaac & Brower, George D, 1987. "On the Issue of Causality in the Economic Model of Crime and Law Enforcement: Some Theoretical Considerations and Experimental Evidence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(2), pages 99-106, May.
  63. Bruce D. Meyer, 1994. "Natural and Quasi- Experiments in Economics," NBER Technical Working Papers 0170, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  64. Feldstein, Martin & Horioka, Charles, 1980. "Domestic Saving and International Capital Flows," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, Royal Economic Society, vol. 90(358), pages 314-29, June.
  65. Paul Gertler, 2004. "Do Conditional Cash Transfers Improve Child Health? Evidence from PROGRESA's Control Randomized Experiment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(2), pages 336-341, May.
  66. Dani Rodrik & Romain Wacziarg, 2005. "Do Democratic Transitions Produce Bad Economic Outcomes?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(2), pages 50-55, May.
  67. Ehrlich, Isaac, 1977. "The Deterrent Effect of Capital Punishment: Reply," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 67(3), pages 452-58, June.
  68. Caroline M. Hoxby, 2000. "The Effects Of Class Size On Student Achievement: New Evidence From Population Variation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 115(4), pages 1239-1285, November.
  69. Kydland, Finn E & Prescott, Edward C, 1977. "Rules Rather Than Discretion: The Inconsistency of Optimal Plans," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 85(3), pages 473-91, June.
  70. LaLonde, Robert J, 1986. "Evaluating the Econometric Evaluations of Training Programs with Experimental Data," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(4), pages 604-20, September.
  71. Hanushek, Eric A, 1986. "The Economics of Schooling: Production and Efficiency in Public Schools," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 24(3), pages 1141-77, September.
  72. Gary Richardson & William Troost, 2009. "Monetary Intervention Mitigated Banking Panics during the Great Depression: Quasi-Experimental Evidence from a Federal Reserve District Border, 1929-1933," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 117(6), pages 1031-1073, December.
  73. Isaac Ehrlich, 1996. "Crime, Punishment, and the Market for Offenses," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 10(1), pages 43-67, Winter.
  74. White, Halbert, 1980. "A Heteroskedasticity-Consistent Covariance Matrix Estimator and a Direct Test for Heteroskedasticity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, Econometric Society, vol. 48(4), pages 817-38, May.
  75. Milton Friedman & Anna J. Schwartz, 1963. "A Monetary History of the United States, 1867-1960," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number frie63-1, January.
  76. Robert W. Crandall & Clifford Winston, 2003. "Does Antitrust Policy Improve Consumer Welfare? Assessing the Evidence," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 17(4), pages 3-26, Fall.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

Citations

Blog mentions

As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
  1. An incrementalist view of Impact Evaluation and knowledge
    by Jed Friedman in Development Impact on 2012-05-02 13:27:23
  2. O “núcleo” da inflação no Brasil.
    by ? in Análise Real on 2012-04-12 12:00:00
  3. Notes on books for Macroeconometrics
    by Gray in Pseudo-true News on 2013-04-08 15:49:43
Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
as in new window

Cited by:
This item has more than 25 citations. To prevent cluttering this page, these citations are listed on a separate page.

Lists

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

Statistics

Access and download statistics

Corrections

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cep:cepdps:dp0976. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ().

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.