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An economic analysis of exclusion restrictions for instrumental variable estimation

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Abstract

Instrumental variable estimation requires untestable exclusion restrictions. With policy effects on inidividual outcomes, there is typically a time interval between the moment the agent realizes that he may be exposed to the policy and the actual exposure or the announcement of the actual treatment status. In such cases there is an incentive for the agent to acquire information on the value of the IV. This leads to violation of the exclusion restriction. We analyze this in a dynamic economic model framework. This provides a foundation of exclusion restrictions in terms of economic behavior. The results are used to describe policy evaluation settings in which instrumental variables are likely or unlikely to make sense. For the latter cases we analyze the asymptotic bias. The exclusion restriction is more likely to be violated if the outcome of interest strongly depends on interactions between the agent's effort before the outcome is realized and the actual treatment status. The bias has the same sign as this interaction effect. Violation does not causally depend on the weakness of the candidate intstrument or the size of the average treatment effect. With experiments, violation is more likely if the treatment and control groups are to be of similar size. We also address side-effects. We develop a novel economic interpretation of placebo effects and provide some empirical evidence for the relevance of the analysis.

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Paper provided by IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy in its series Working Paper Series with number 2007:10.

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Length: 41 pages
Date of creation: 18 Feb 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hhs:ifauwp:2007_010

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Keywords: Treatment; policy evaluation; information; selection effects; randomization; placebo effect;

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References

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  1. van den Berg, Gerard J. & Lindeboom, Maarten & López, Marta, 2006. "Inequality in Individual Mortality and Economic Conditions Earlier in Life," IZA Discussion Papers 2425, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Susan Athey & Jonathan Levin, 1998. "The Value of Information In Monotone Decision Problems," Working papers 98-24, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  3. Christian Gollier, 2004. "The Economics of Risk and Time," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262572249, December.
  4. Andersson, Christian & Waldenström, Nina, 2007. "Teacher supply and the market for teachers," Working Paper Series 2007:5, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
  5. Jaap Abbring & Gerard van den Berg, 2005. "Social experiments and instrumental variables with duration outcomes," IFS Working Papers W05/19, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  6. Stock, James H & Wright, Jonathan H & Yogo, Motohiro, 2002. "A Survey of Weak Instruments and Weak Identification in Generalized Method of Moments," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 20(4), pages 518-29, October.
  7. Lundin, Daniela & Mörk, Eva & Öckert, Björn, 2007. "Do reduced child care prices make parents work more?," Working Paper Series 2007:2, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
  8. Nicola Persico, 1997. "Information Acquisition in Auctions," UCLA Economics Working Papers 762, UCLA Department of Economics.
  9. Imbens, Guido W & Angrist, Joshua D, 1994. "Identification and Estimation of Local Average Treatment Effects," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(2), pages 467-75, March.
  10. Andersson, Christian, 2007. "Teacher density and student achievement in Swedish compulsory schools," Working Paper Series 2007:4, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
  11. Tat Y. Chan & Barton H. Hamilton, 2006. "Learning, Private Information, and the Economic Evaluation of Randomized Experiments," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 114(6), pages 997-1040, December.
  12. Heckman, James J. & Lalonde, Robert J. & Smith, Jeffrey A., 1999. "The economics and econometrics of active labor market programs," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 31, pages 1865-2097 Elsevier.
  13. Anup Malani, 2006. "Identifying Placebo Effects with Data from Clinical Trials," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 114(2), pages 236-256, April.
  14. Jaap H. Abbring & Gerard J. van den Berg, 2003. "The Nonparametric Identification of Treatment Effects in Duration Models," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(5), pages 1491-1517, 09.
  15. 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.
  16. Richard Blundell & James Powell, 2001. "Endogeneity in nonparametric and semiparametric regression models," CeMMAP working papers CWP09/01, Centre for Microdata Methods and Practice, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
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Cited by:
  1. van den Berg, Gerard J. & Bergemann, Annette & Caliendo, Marco, 2008. "The Effect of Active Labor Market Programs on Not-Yet Treated Unemployed Individuals," IZA Discussion Papers 3825, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Belzil, Christian & Hansen, Jörgen, 2008. "Calibration and IV Estimation of a Wage Outcome Equation in a Dynamic Environment," IZA Discussion Papers 3528, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Jaap H. Abbring & Gerard J. van den Berg, 2005. "Social Experiments and Instrumental Variables with Duration Outcomes," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 05-047/3, Tinbergen Institute.

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