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Natural "Natural Experiments" in Economics

Author

Listed:
  • Kenneth I. Wolpin
  • Mark R. Rosenzweig

Abstract

The recent literature exploiting natural events as "natural experiment" instruments is reviewed to assess to what extent it has advanced empirical knowledge. A weakness of the studies that adopt this approach is that the necessary set of behavioral, market, and technological assumptions made by the authors in justifying their interpretations of the estimates is often absent. The methodology and findings from twenty studies are summarized and simple economic models are used to elucidate the implicit assumptions made by the authors and to demonstrate the sensitivity of the interpretations of the findings to the relaxation of some of these assumptions.

Suggested Citation

  • Kenneth I. Wolpin & Mark R. Rosenzweig, 2000. "Natural "Natural Experiments" in Economics," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 38(4), pages 827-874, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:jeclit:v:38:y:2000:i:4:p:827-874
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/jel.38.4.827
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C51 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric Modeling - - - Model Construction and Estimation
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • C90 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - General
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply
    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis

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