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Accounting for Heterogeneity, Diversity, and General Equilibriumin Evaluating Social Programs

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  • James J. Heckman

Abstract

This paper considers the problem of policy evaluation in a modern society with heterogeneous agents and diverse groups with conflicting interests. Several different approaches to the policy evaluation problem are compared including the approach adopted in modern welfare economics, the classical representative agent approach adopted in macroecononomics and the microeconomic treatment effect approach. A new approach to the policy evaluation problem is developed and applied that combines and extends the best features of these earlier approaches.Evidence on the importance of heterogeneity is presented. Using an empirically based dynamic general equilibrium model of skill formation with heterogeneous agents, the benefits of the more comprehensive approach to policy evaluation are examined in the context of examining the impact of tax reform on skill formation and the political economy aspects of such reform. A parallel analysis of tution policy is presented.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 7230.

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Date of creation: Jul 1999
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Publication status: published as Heckman, James. "Accounting For Heterogeneity, Diversity And General Equilibrium In Evaluating Social Programmes," Economic Journal, 2001, v111(475,Nov), 654-699.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:7230

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  1. James J. Heckrnan, 1974. "Effects of Child-Care Programs on Women's Work Effort," NBER Chapters, in: Economics of the Family: Marriage, Children, and Human Capital, pages 491-524 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. 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.
  3. James Heckman & Lance Lochner & Christopher Taber, 1998. "Explaining Rising Wage Inequality: Explanations With A Dynamic General Equilibrium Model of Labor Earnings With Heterogeneous Agents," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 1(1), pages 1-58, January.
  4. Heckman, James J, 1976. "A Life-Cycle Model of Earnings, Learning, and Consumption," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 84(4), pages S11-44, August.
  5. Heckman, James J & Ichimura, Hidehiko & Todd, Petra, 1998. "Matching as an Econometric Evaluation Estimator," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 65(2), pages 261-94, April.
  6. Rothschild, Michael & Stiglitz, Joseph E., 1970. "Increasing risk: I. A definition," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 2(3), pages 225-243, September.
  7. Couch, Kenneth A, 1992. "New Evidence on the Long-Term Effects of Employment Training Programs," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 10(4), pages 380-88, October.
  8. John C. Harsanyi, 1955. "Cardinal Welfare, Individualistic Ethics, and Interpersonal Comparisons of Utility," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 63, pages 309.
  9. James J. Heckman & Jeffrey A. Smith, 1995. "Assessing the Case for Social Experiments," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 9(2), pages 85-110, Spring.
  10. Maital, Shlomo, 1973. "Public Goods and Income Distribution: Some Further Results," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 41(3), pages 561-68, May.
  11. Heckman, James J, 1978. "Dummy Endogenous Variables in a Simultaneous Equation System," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(4), pages 931-59, July.
  12. Heckman, James J & Smith, Jeffrey, 1997. "Making the Most Out of Programme Evaluations and Social Experiments: Accounting for Heterogeneity in Programme Impacts," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 64(4), pages 487-535, October.
  13. James J. Heckman, 1974. "Effects of Child-Care Programs on Women's Work Effort," NBER Chapters, in: Marriage, Family, Human Capital, and Fertility, pages 136-169 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Arulampalam, W. & Robin A. Naylor & Jeremy P. Smith, 2002. "University of Warwick," Royal Economic Society Annual Conference 2002 9, Royal Economic Society.
  15. James Heckman & Hidehiko Ichimura & Jeffrey Smith & Petra Todd, 1998. "Characterizing Selection Bias Using Experimental Data," NBER Working Papers 6699, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Heckman, James J, 1990. "Varieties of Selection Bias," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(2), pages 313-18, May.
  17. Chipman, John S & Moore, James C, 1976. "Why an Increase in GNP Need Not Imply an Improvement in Potential Welfare," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 29(3), pages 391-418.
  18. James J. Heckman & Edward J. Vytlacil, 2000. "Local Instrumental Variables," NBER Technical Working Papers 0252, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Heckman, James J & Honore, Bo E, 1990. "The Empirical Content of the Roy Model," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 58(5), pages 1121-49, September.
  20. James Davies & John Whalley, 1991. "Taxes and Capital Formation: How Important is Human Capital?," NBER Chapters, in: National Saving and Economic Performance, pages 163-200 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  21. Trostel, Philip A, 1993. "The Effect of Taxation on Human Capital," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(2), pages 327-50, April.
  22. James J. Heckman & Jeffrey A. Smith, 1998. "Evaluating the Welfare State," NBER Working Papers 6542, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  23. Heckman, James J, 1974. "Shadow Prices, Market Wages, and Labor Supply," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 42(4), pages 679-94, July.
  24. 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.
  25. Harberger, Arnold C, 1971. "Three Basic Postulates for Applied Welfare Economics: An Interpretive Essay," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 9(3), pages 785-97, September.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Wiebke Kuklys & Ingrid Robeyns, 2004. "Sens's Capability Approach to Welfare Economics," Papers on Strategic Interaction 2004-03, Max Planck Institute of Economics, Strategic Interaction Group.
  2. Hujer, Reinhard & Blien, Uwe & Caliendo, Marco & Zeiss, Christopher, 2002. "Macroeconometric Evaluation of Active Labour Market Policies in Germany – A Dynamic Panel Approach Using Regional Data," IZA Discussion Papers 616, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Jeff Borland & Yi-Ping Tseng & Roger Wilkins, 2005. "Experimental and Quasi-Experimental Methods of Microeconomic Program and Policy Evaluation," Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series wp2005n08, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne.
  4. Carneiro, Pedro & Hansen, Karsten T & Heckman, James J, 2002. "Removing the veil of ignorance in assessing the distributional impacts of social policies," Working Paper Series 2002:2, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
  5. Dabla-Norris, Era & Matoovu, John M. & Wade, Paul, 2002. "Debt Relief, Demand for Eduction, and Poverty," Working Paper Series UNU-WIDER Research Paper , World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
  6. Kuklys, W. & Robeyns, I., 2004. "Sen’s Capability Approach to Welfare Economics," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 0415, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
  7. Michael Lechner, 2002. "Eine wirkungsorientierte aktive Arbeitsmarktpolitik in Deutschland und der Schweiz: Eine Vision - zwei Realitäten," Perspektiven der Wirtschaftspolitik, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 3(2), pages 159-174, 05.
  8. Essama-Nssah, B., 2006. "Propensity score matching and policy impact analysis - a demonstration in EViews," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3877, The World Bank.
  9. Michael Lechner, 2002. "Mikroökonometrische Evaluation arbeitsmarktpolitischer Massnahmen," University of St. Gallen Department of Economics working paper series 2002 2002-20, Department of Economics, University of St. Gallen.
  10. John Matovu & Era Dabla-Norris, 2002. "Composition of Government Expenditures and Demand for Education in Developing Countries," IMF Working Papers 02/78, International Monetary Fund.
  11. repec:fth:prinin:441 is not listed on IDEAS
  12. Jeff Borland & Yi-Ping Tseng, 2003. "How Do Administrative Arrangements Affect Exit from Unemployment Payments? The Case of the Job Seeker Diary in Australia," Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series wp2003n27, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne.

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