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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. Imbens, Guido & van der Klaauw, Wilbert, 1995. "Evaluating the Cost of Conscription in The Netherlands," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 13(2), pages 207-15, April.
  2. Pakes, A. & Ericson, R., 1990. "Empirical Implications Of Alternative Models Of Firm Dynamics," Papers 594, Yale - Economic Growth Center.
  3. 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.
  4. David Card, 1989. "The Impact of the Mariel Boatlift on the Miami Labor Market," Working Papers 633, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  5. 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.
  6. Patricia M. Anderson & Bruce D. Meyer, 1994. "Unemployment Insurance Benefits and Takeup Rates," NBER Working Papers 4787, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. David Card, 1992. "Using Regional Variation in Wages to Measure the Effects of the Federal Minimum Wage," NBER Working Papers 4058, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Katz, L.F. & Krueger, A.B., 1992. "The Effect of the Minimum Wage on the Fast Food Industry," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1584, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  9. 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.
  10. Bruce D. Meyer, 1989. "A Quasi-Experimental Approach to the Effects of Unemployment Insurance," NBER Working Papers 3159, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Solon, Gary R, 1985. "Work Incentive Effects of Taxing Unemployment Benefits," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 53(2), pages 295-306, March.
  12. David Card & Alan Krueger, 1993. "Minimum Wages and Employment: A Case Study of the Fast Food Industry in New Jersey and Pennsylvania," Working Papers 694, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  13. Angrist, Joshua & Krueger, Alan B, 1994. "Why Do World War II Veterans Earn More Than Nonveterans?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 12(1), pages 74-97, January.
  14. Timothy Besley & Anne Case, 1994. "Unnatural Experiments? Estimating the Incidence of Endogenous Policies," NBER Working Papers 4956, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Joshua D. Angrist & Alan B. Krueger, 1990. "Does Compulsory School Attendance Affect Schooling and Earnings?," NBER Working Papers 3572, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. Gruber, Jonathan, 1994. "The Incidence of Mandated Maternity Benefits," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(3), pages 622-41, June.
  19. Alan Krueger, 1990. "Worker's Compensation Insurance and the Duration of Workplace Injuries," Working Papers 641, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  20. Meyer, Bruce D & Viscusi, W Kip & Durbin, David L, 1995. "Workers' Compensation and Injury Duration: Evidence from a Natural Experiment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(3), pages 322-40, June.
  21. 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.
  22. Meyer, Bruce D, 1990. "Unemployment Insurance and Unemployment Spells," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 58(4), pages 757-82, July.
  23. 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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  25. Stephen A. Woodbury, 2009. "Unemployment," Book chapters authored by Upjohn Institute researchers, in: Kenneth G. Dau-Schmidt & Seth D. Harris & Orley Lobel (ed.), Labor and Employment Law and Economics, volume 2, pages 480-516 W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.
    • Stephen A. Woodbury, 2009. "Unemployment," Chapters, in: Labor and Employment Law and Economics, chapter 17 Edward Elgar.
  26. Aaron Yelowitz, 1995. "The Medicaid Notch, Labor Supply and Welfare Participation: Evidence from Eligibility Expansions," UCLA Economics Working Papers 738, UCLA Department of Economics.
  27. Gruber, J. & Currie, J., 1994. "Saving Babies: The Efficacy and Cost of Recent Expansions of Medicaid Eligibility for Pregnant Women," Working papers 94-11, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  28. Manski, C.F., 1990. "The Selection Problem," Working papers 90-12, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
  29. 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.
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