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Estimation of Treatment Effects Without an Exclusion Restriction: with an Application to the Analysis of the School Breakfast Program

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  • Daniel L. Millimet
  • Rusty Tchernis

Abstract

While the rise in childhood obesity is clear, the policy ramifications are not. School nutrition programs such as the School Breakfast Program (SBP) have come under much scrutiny. However, the lack of experimental evidence, combined with non-random selection into these programs, makes identification of the causal effects of such programs difficult. In the case of the SBP, this difficulty is exacerbated by the apparent lack of exclusion restrictions. Here, we compare via Monte Carlo study several existing estimators that do not rely on exclusion restrictions for identification. In addition, we propose two new estimation strategies. Simulations illustrate the usefulness of our new estimators, as well as provide applied researchers several practical guidelines when analyzing the causal effects of binary treatments. More importantly, we find consistent evidence of a beneficial causal effect of SBP participation on childhood obesity when applying estimators designed to circumvent selection on unobservables.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 15539.

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Date of creation: Nov 2009
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Publication status: published as Daniel L. Millimet & Rusty Tchernis, 2013. "Estimation Of Treatment Effects Without An Exclusion Restriction: With An Application To The Analysis Of The School Breakfast Program," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 28(6), pages 982-1017, 09.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:15539

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  1. 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.
  2. Daniel Millimet & Rusty Tchernis, 2008. "On the Specification of Propensity Scores: with Applications to the Analysis of Trade Policies," Caepr Working Papers 2006-013_Updated, Center for Applied Economics and Policy Research, Economics Department, Indiana University Bloomington.
  3. James J. Heckman & Edward Vytlacil, 2005. "Structural Equations, Treatment Effects and Econometric Policy Evaluation," NBER Working Papers 11259, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Roger Klein & Francis Vella, 2009. "A semiparametric model for binary response and continuous outcomes under index heteroscedasticity," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 24(5), pages 735-762.
  5. 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.
  6. Joseph G. Altonji & Todd E. Elder & Christopher R. Taber, 2005. "Selection on Observed and Unobserved Variables: Assessing the Effectiveness of Catholic Schools," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(1), pages 151-184, February.
  7. David S. Lee & Thomas Lemieux, 2009. "Regression Discontinuity Designs In Economics," Working Papers 1118, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  8. Dan A. Black & Jeffrey Smith, 2003. "How Robust is the Evidence on the Effects of College Quality? Evidence From Matching," University of Western Ontario, CIBC Centre for Human Capital and Productivity Working Papers 20033, University of Western Ontario, CIBC Centre for Human Capital and Productivity.
  9. Jay Bhattacharya & Janet Currie & Steven Haider, 2004. "Breakfast of Champions? The School Breakfast Program and the Nutrition of Children and Families," Working Papers 189, RAND Corporation Publications Department.
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  11. Keisuke Hirano & Guido W. Imbens & Geert Ridder, 2003. "Efficient Estimation of Average Treatment Effects Using the Estimated Propensity Score," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(4), pages 1161-1189, 07.
  12. Alberto Abadie & Guido W. Imbens, 2009. "Matching on the Estimated Propensity Score," NBER Working Papers 15301, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Daniel L. Millimet & Rusty Tchernis & Muna Husain, 2010. "School Nutrition Programs and the Incidence of Childhood Obesity," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 45(3).
  14. Guido Imbens & Jeffrey Wooldridge, 2008. "Recent developments in the econometrics of program evaluation," CeMMAP working papers CWP24/08, Centre for Microdata Methods and Practice, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  15. Guido W. Imbens, 2004. "Nonparametric Estimation of Average Treatment Effects Under Exogeneity: A Review," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 86(1), pages 4-29, February.
  16. Guthrie, Joanne F. & Newman, Constance & Ralston, Katherine L., 2009. "USDA School Meal Programs Face New Challenges," Choices, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 24(3).
  17. Sara Bleich & David Cutler & Christopher Murray & Alyce Adams, 2007. "Why Is The Developed World Obese?," NBER Working Papers 12954, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Heckman, James J. & Navarro, Salvador, 2003. "Using Matching, Instrumental Variables and Control Functions to Estimate Economic Choice Models," IZA Discussion Papers 768, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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Cited by:
  1. Claudia Berg & Shahe Emran & Forhad Shilpi, 2014. "Microfinance and Moneylenders: Long-run Effects of MFIs on Informal Credit Market in Bangladesh," Working Papers 25, Institute of Microfinance (InM).
  2. Millimet, Daniel L. & Tchernis, Rusty, 2013. "The Origins of Early Childhood Anthropometric Persistence," IZA Discussion Papers 7657, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Millimet, Daniel L. & McDonough, Ian K., 2013. "Dynamic Panel Data Models with Irregular Spacing: With Applications to Early Childhood Development," IZA Discussion Papers 7359, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

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