Assessing the Case for Social Experiments
This paper analyzes the method of social experiments. The assumptions that justify the experimental method are exposited. Parameters of interest in evaluating social programs are discussed. The authors show how experiments sometimes serve as instrumental variables to identify program impacts. The most favorable case for experiments ignores variability across persons in response to treatments received and assumes that mean impacts of a program are the main object of interest in conducting an evaluation. Experiments do not identify the distribution of program gains unless additional assumptions are maintained. Evidence on the validity of the assumptions used to justify social experiments is presented.
Volume (Year): 9 (1995)
Issue (Month): 2 (Spring)
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University of Chicago - Economics Research Center
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Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers
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"The econometrics of the general equilibrium approach to business cycles,"
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"Choosing Among Alternative Nonexperimental Methods For Estimating The Impact Of Social Programs: The Case Of Manpower Training,"
University of Chicago - Economics Research Center
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- James J. Heckman, 1989. "Choosing Among Alternative Nonexperimental Methods for Estimating the Impact of Social Programs: The Case of Manpower Training," NBER Working Papers 2861, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- 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.
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