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Natural and Quasi-experiments in Economics

  • Meyer, Bruce D

Using research designs patterned after randomized experiments, many recent economic studies examine outcome measures for treatment groups and comparison groups that are not randomly assigned. By using variation in explanatory variables generated by changes in state laws, government draft mechanisms, or other means, these studies obtain variation that is readily examined and is plausibly exogenous. This article describes the advantages of these studies and suggests how they can be improved. It also provides aids in judging the validity of inferences that they draw. Design complications such as multiple treatment and comparison groups and multiple preintervention or postintervention observations are advocated.

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Article provided by American Statistical Association in its journal Journal of Business and Economic Statistics.

Volume (Year): 13 (1995)
Issue (Month): 2 (April)
Pages: 151-61

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Handle: RePEc:bes:jnlbes:v:13:y:1995:i:2:p:151-61
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  1. Ashenfelter, Orley & Card, David, 1985. "Using the Longitudinal Structure of Earnings to Estimate the Effect of Training Programs," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 67(4), pages 648-60, November.
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  3. Imbens, G. & Van Der Klaauw, W., 1993. "Evaluating the Cost of Conscription in the Netherlands," Working Papers 93-24, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
  4. Pakes, A. & Ericson, R., 1990. "Empirical Implications Of Alternative Models Of Firm Dynamics," Papers 594, Yale - Economic Growth Center.
  5. Jason G. Cummins & Kevin A. Hassett & R. Glenn Hubbard, 1994. "A Reconsideration of Investment Behavior Using Tax Reforms as Natural Experiments," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 25(2), pages 1-74.
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  7. 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 313-36, June.
  8. Green, David A & Riddell, W Craig, 1993. "The Economic Effects of Unemployment Insurance in Canada: An Empirical Analysis of UI Disentitlement," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 11(1), pages S96-147, January.
  9. Rosenzweig, Mark R & Wolpin, Kenneth I, 1980. "Testing the Quantity-Quality Fertility Model: The Use of Twins as a Natural Experiment," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(1), pages 227-40, January.
  10. Janet Currie & Jonathan Gruber, 1994. "Saving Babies: The Efficacy and Cost of Recent Expansions of Medicaid Eligibility for Pregnant Women," NBER Working Papers 4644, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. A. S. Yelowitz, . "The Medicaid notch, labor supply, and welfare participation: Evidence from eligibility expansions," Institute for Research on Poverty Discussion Papers 1084-96, University of Wisconsin Institute for Research on Poverty.
  12. Patricia M. Anderson & Bruce D. Meyer, 1994. "Unemployment Insurance Benefits and Takeup Rates," NBER Working Papers 4787, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Ashenfelter, Orley C, 1978. "Estimating the Effect of Training Programs on Earnings," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 60(1), pages 47-57, February.
  14. Alan B. Krueger, 1990. "Workers' Compensation Insurance and the Duration of Workplace Injuries," NBER Working Papers 3253, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Besley, Timothy & Case, Anne, 2000. "Unnatural Experiments? Estimating the Incidence of Endogenous Policies," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 110(467), pages F672-94, November.
  16. Joshua D. Angrist & Alan B. Keueger, 1991. "Does Compulsory School Attendance Affect Schooling and Earnings?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 106(4), pages 979-1014.
  17. David Card, 1992. "Using Regional Variation in Wages to Measure the Effects of the Federal Minimum Wage," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 46(1), pages 22-37, October.
  18. Gary Solon, 1984. "Work Incentive Effects of Taxing Unemployment Benefits," NBER Working Papers 1260, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  20. William P. Curington, 1994. "Compensation for Permanent Impairment and the Duration of Work Absence: Evidence from Four Natural Experiments," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 29(3), pages 888-910.
  21. Alan B. Krueger & Joshua D. Angrist, 1989. "Why do World War II Veterans Earn More Than Nonveterans?," NBER Working Papers 2991, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  22. Gruber, Jonathan, 1994. "The Incidence of Mandated Maternity Benefits," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(3), pages 622-41, June.
  23. David Card, 1989. "The Impact of the Mariel Boatlift on the Miami Labor Market," NBER Working Papers 3069, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  24. Manski, C.F., 1990. "The Selection Problem," Working papers 90-12, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
  25. Stephen A. Woodbury, 2009. "Unemployment," Chapters, in: Labor and Employment Law and Economics, chapter 17 Edward Elgar Publishing.
  26. Lawrence F. Katz & Alan B. Krueger, 1992. "The Effect of the Minimum Wage on the Fast-Food Industry," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 46(1), pages 6-21, October.
  27. C. F. Manski, . "Learning about social programs from experiments with random assignment of treatments," Institute for Research on Poverty Discussion Papers 1061-95, University of Wisconsin Institute for Research on Poverty.
  28. Bruce D. Meyer, 1989. "A Quasi-Experimental Approach to the Effects of Unemployment Insurance," NBER Working Papers 3159, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  29. Meyer, Bruce D, 1990. "Unemployment Insurance and Unemployment Spells," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 58(4), pages 757-82, July.
  30. Card, David & Krueger, Alan B, 1994. "Minimum Wages and Employment: A Case Study of the Fast-Food Industry in New Jersey and Pennsylvania," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(4), pages 772-93, September.
  31. Bruce D. Meyer & W. Kip Viscusi & David L. Durbin, 1990. "Workers' Compensation and Injury Duration: Evidence from a Natural Experiment," NBER Working Papers 3494, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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