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Average Causal Response with Variable Treatment Intensity

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Author Info

  • Angrist, J.D.
  • Imbens, G.W.

Abstract

In evaluation research, an average causal effect is usually defined as the expected difference between the outcomes of the treated, and what these outcomes would have been in the absence of treatment. This definition of causal effects makes sense for binary treatments only. In this paper, we extend the definition of average causal effects to the case of variable treatments such as drug dosage, hours of exam preparation, cigarette smoking, and years of schooling. We show that given mild regularity assumptions, instrumental variables independence assumptions identify a weighted average of per-unit causal effects along the length of an appropriately defined causal response function. Conventional instrumental variables and Two-Stage Least Squares procedures can be interpreted as estimating the average causal response to a variable treatment.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Tilburg - Center for Economic Research in its series Papers with number 9234.

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Length: 35 pages
Date of creation: 1992
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:fth:tilbur:9234

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Postal: TILBURG UNIVERSITY, CENTER FOR ECONOMIC RESEARCH, 5000 LE TILBURG THE NETHERLANDS.
Phone: 31 13 4663050
Fax: 31 13 4663066
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Web page: http://center.uvt.nl/
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Keywords: economic theory ; methodology;

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References

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  1. Manski, C.F., 1990. "The Selection Problem," Working papers 90-12, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
  2. 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.
  3. Heckman, James J, 1990. "Varieties of Selection Bias," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(2), pages 313-18, May.
  4. 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.
  5. Willis, Robert J & Rosen, Sherwin, 1979. "Education and Self-Selection," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(5), pages S7-36, October.
  6. K. Newey, Whitney, 1985. "Generalized method of moments specification testing," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 29(3), pages 229-256, September.
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