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Blunt Instruments: Avoiding Common Pitfalls in Identifying the Causes of Economic Growth

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  • Samuel Bazzi
  • Michael A. Clemens

Abstract

Concern has intensified in recent years that many instrumental variables used in widely-cited growth regressions may be invalid, weak, or both. Attempts to remedy this general problem remain inadequate. We show how a range of published studies can offer more evidence that their results are not spurious. Key steps include: grounding growth regressions in more generalized theoretical models, deployment of new methods for estimating sensitivity to violations of exclusion restrictions, opening the "black box" of GMM with supportive evidence of instrument strength, and utilization of weak-instrument robust tests and estimators. (JEL C52, E23, F35, O41, O47)

Suggested Citation

  • Samuel Bazzi & Michael A. Clemens, 2013. "Blunt Instruments: Avoiding Common Pitfalls in Identifying the Causes of Economic Growth," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 5(2), pages 152-186, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aejmac:v:5:y:2013:i:2:p:152-86
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/mac.5.2.152
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Sarah Voitchovsky, 2005. "Does the Profile of Income Inequality Matter for Economic Growth?," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 10(3), pages 273-296, September.
    2. William Hauk & Romain Wacziarg, 2009. "A Monte Carlo study of growth regressions," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 14(2), pages 103-147, June.
    3. Carl-Johan Dalgaard & Henrik Hansen & Finn Tarp, 2004. "On The Empirics of Foreign Aid and Growth," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(496), pages 191-216, June.
    4. Hansen, Henrik & Tarp, Finn, 2001. "Aid and growth regressions," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(2), pages 547-570, April.
    5. David N. DeJong & Marla Ripoll, 2006. "Tariffs and Growth: An Empirical Exploration of Contingent Relationships," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 88(4), pages 625-640, November.
    6. Windmeijer, Frank, 2005. "A finite sample correction for the variance of linear efficient two-step GMM estimators," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 126(1), pages 25-51, May.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C52 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric Modeling - - - Model Evaluation, Validation, and Selection
    • E23 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Production
    • F35 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - Foreign Aid
    • O41 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - One, Two, and Multisector Growth Models
    • O47 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - Empirical Studies of Economic Growth; Aggregate Productivity; Cross-Country Output Convergence

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