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Better LATE Than Nothing: Some Comments on Deaton (2009) and Heckman and Urzua (2009)

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  • Guido W. Imbens

Abstract

Two recent papers, Deaton (2009), and Heckman and Urzua (2009), argue against what they see as an excessive and inappropriate use of experimental and quasi-experimental methods in empirical work in economics in the last decade. They specifically question the increased use of instrumental variables and natural experiments in labor economics, and of randomized experiments in development economics. In these comments I will make the case that this move towards shoring up the internal validity of estimates, and towards clarifying the description of the population these estimates are relevant for, has been important and beneficial in increasing the credibility of empirical work in economics. I also address some other concerns raised by the Deaton and Heckman-Urzua papers.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 14896.

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Date of creation: Apr 2009
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:14896

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Blog mentions

As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
  1. Rise and Fall of a Method
    by Agent Continuum in Agent Continuum on 2010-04-21 13:53:35
  2. is not too LATE for empirical development!!!
    by Dany in Rigotnomics on 2009-04-23 23:43:00
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  2. Behncke S, 2009. "How Does Retirement Affect Health?," Health, Econometrics and Data Group (HEDG) Working Papers 09/11, HEDG, c/o Department of Economics, University of York.
  3. Elke Schaffland, 2011. "Conditional Cash Transfers in Brazil: Treatment Evaluation of the “Bolsa Família” Program on Education," Courant Research Centre: Poverty, Equity and Growth - Discussion Papers 84, Courant Research Centre PEG, revised 11 Apr 2012.
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  9. Flores, Carlos A. & Flores-Lagunes, Alfonso, 2009. "Identification and Estimation of Causal Mechanisms and Net Effects of a Treatment under Unconfoundedness," IZA Discussion Papers 4237, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  10. Martin Binder & Alex Coad, 2011. ""I'm afraid I have bad news for you . . ." Estimating the impact of different health impairments on subjective well-being," Papers on Economics and Evolution 2011-15, Max Planck Institute of Economics, Evolutionary Economics Group.
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  13. Linnemayr, Sebastian & Alderman, Harold, 2008. "Almost Random: Evaluating a Large-Scale Randomized Nutrition Program in the Presence of Crossover," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4784, The World Bank.
  14. Tamini, Lota D., 2011. "A nonparametric analysis of the impact of agri-environmental advisory activities on best management practice adoption: A case study of Québec," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(7), pages 1363-1374, May.

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