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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
    as

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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Robert A. Pollak, 1969. "Conditional Demand Functions and Consumption Theory," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 83(1), pages 60-78.
    2. Mincer, Jacob, 1970. "The Distribution of Labor Incomes: A Survey with Special Reference to the Human Capital Approach," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 8(1), pages 1-26, March.
    3. Becker, Gary S & Tomes, Nigel, 1976. "Child Endowments and the Quantity and Quality of Children," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 84(4), pages 143-162, August.
    4. Rosenzweig, Mark R & Schultz, T Paul, 1982. "Market Opportunities, Genetic Endowments, and Intrafamily Resource Distribution: Child Survival in Rural India," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(4), pages 803-815, September.
    5. Becker, Gary S & Lewis, H Gregg, 1973. "On the Interaction between the Quantity and Quality of Children," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(2), pages 279-288, Part II, .
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    7. Hanan G. Jacoby & Emmanuel Skoufias, 1998. "Testing Theories of Consumption Behavior Using Information on Aggregate Shocks: Income Seasonality and Rainfall in Rural India," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 80(1), pages 1-14.
    8. Angrist, Joshua D, 1990. "Lifetime Earnings and the Vietnam Era Draft Lottery: Evidence from Social Security Administrative Records," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(3), pages 313-336, June.
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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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