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Ex Ante Evaluation of Social Programs

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Author Info

  • Petra E. Todd

    ()
    (Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania)

  • Kenneth I. Wolpin

    ()
    (Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania)

Abstract

This paper discusses methods for evaluating the impacts of social programs prior to their implementation. Ex ante evaluation is useful for designing programs that achieve some optimality criteria, such as maximizing impact for a given cost. This paper illustrates through several examples the use of behavioral models in predicting the impacts of hypothetical programs. Among the programs considered are wage subsidy programs, conditional cash transfer programs, and income support programs. In some cases, the behavioral model justifies a completely nonparametric estimation strategy, even when there is no direct variation in the policy instrument. In other cases, stronger modeling and/or functional form assumptions are required to evaluate a program ex ante. We illustrate the application of ex ante evaluation methods using data from the PROGRESA school subsidy experiment in Mexico. We assess the effectiveness of the method by comparing ex ante predictions of program impacts to the impacts measured under the randomized experiment.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania in its series PIER Working Paper Archive with number 06-022.

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Length: 33 pages
Date of creation: 02 May 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:pen:papers:06-022

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Keywords: ex-ante evaluation; matching; evaluation methods; school subsidy programs;

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References

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  1. 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.
  2. Robin L. Lumsdaine & James H. Stock & David A. Wise, 1992. "Pension Plan Provisions and Retirement: Men & Women, Medicare, and Models," NBER Working Papers 4201, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. James J. Heckman, 2000. "Causal Parameters And Policy Analysis In Economics: A Twentieth Century Retrospective," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 115(1), pages 45-97, February.
  4. Hardle, W., 1992. "Applied Nonparametric Methods," Papers 9206, Tilburg - Center for Economic Research.
  5. Andrews, Donald W K & Schafgans, Marcia M A, 1998. "Semiparametric Estimation of the Intercept of a Sample Selection Model," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 65(3), pages 497-517, July.
  6. Jeremy Lise & Shannon Seitz & Jeffrey Smith, 2004. "Equilibrium Policy Experiments and the Evaluation of Social Programs," NBER Working Papers 10283, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Heckman, James & Singer, Burton, 1984. "A Method for Minimizing the Impact of Distributional Assumptions in Econometric Models for Duration Data," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(2), pages 271-320, March.
  8. Oliver LINTON, . "Applied nonparametric methods," Statistic und Oekonometrie 9312, Humboldt Universitaet Berlin.
  9. Hidehiko Ichimura & Christopher Taber, 2000. "Direct estimation of policy impacts," IFS Working Papers W00/05, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  10. McFadden, Daniel L., 1984. "Econometric analysis of qualitative response models," Handbook of Econometrics, in: Z. Griliches† & M. D. Intriligator (ed.), Handbook of Econometrics, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 24, pages 1395-1457 Elsevier.
  11. Manski, Charles F., 1975. "Maximum score estimation of the stochastic utility model of choice," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 3(3), pages 205-228, August.
  12. LaLonde, Robert J, 1986. "Evaluating the Econometric Evaluations of Training Programs with Experimental Data," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(4), pages 604-20, September.
  13. Behrman, Jere R & Sengupta, Piyali & Todd, Petra, 2005. "Progressing through PROGRESA: An Impact Assessment of a School Subsidy Experiment in Rural Mexico," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 54(1), pages 237-75, October.
  14. Manski, Charles F., 1986. "Semiparametric analysis of binary response from response-based samples," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 31-40, February.
  15. Hidehiko Ichimura & Christopher Taber, 2002. "Semiparametric Reduced-Form Estimation of Tuition Subsidies," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(2), pages 286-292, May.
  16. James J. Heckman, 2001. "Micro Data, Heterogeneity, and the Evaluation of Public Policy: Nobel Lecture," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 109(4), pages 673-748, August.
  17. Terry R. Johnson & John Pencavel, 1982. "Forecasting the effects of a negative income tax program," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 35(2), pages 221-234, January.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Estevan, Fernanda, 2013. "The impact of conditional cash transfers on public education expenditures: A political economy approach," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 32(C), pages 268-284.
  2. Esther Duflo & Rachel Glennerster & Michael Kremer, 2006. "Using Randomization in Development Economics Research: A Toolkit," NBER Technical Working Papers 0333, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Shahidur R. Khandker & Gayatri B. Koolwal & Hussain A. Samad, 2010. "Handbook on Impact Evaluation : Quantitative Methods and Practices," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 2693, October.
  4. Birol, Ekin & Asare-Marfo, Dorene & Ayele, Gezahegn & Mensa-Bonsu, Akwasi & Ndirangu, Lydia & Okpukpara, Benjamin & Roy, Devesh & Yakhshilikov, Yorbol, 2010. "Investigating the role of poultry in livelihoods and the impact of avian flu on livelihoods outcomes in Africa," IFPRI discussion papers 1011, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  5. Petra Todd & Viviana Vélez-Grajales, 2008. "How Pension Rules Affect Work and Contribution Patterns: A Behavioral Model of the Chilean Privatized Pension System," Working Papers wp193, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
  6. Cheng, Terence Chai, 2014. "Measuring the effects of reducing subsidies for private insurance on public expenditure for health care," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(C), pages 159-179.
  7. Birol, Ekin & Asare-Marfo, Dorene & Ayele, Gezahegn & Mensah-Bonsu, Akwasi & Ndirangu, Lydia & Okpukpara, Benjamin & Roy, Devesh & Yakhshilikov, Yorbol, 2013. "The impact of avian flu on livelihood outcomes in Africa: evidence from Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya and Nigeria," African Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, African Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 8(4), October.

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