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Instrumental Variables Regression with Weak Instruments

  • Douglas Staiger
  • James H. Stock

This paper develops asymptotic distribution theory for instrumental variables regression when the partial correlations between the instruments and the endogenous variables are weak, here modeled as local to zero. Asymptotic representation are provided for various statistics, including two-stage least squares and limited information maximum likelihood estimators, Wald statistics, and statistics testing overidentification and endogeneity. The asymptotic distributions provide good approximations to sampling distributions with ten-twenty observations per instrument. The theory suggests concrete guidelines for applied work, including using nonstandard methods for construction of confidence regions. These results are used to interpret J. D. Angrist and A. B. Krueger's (1991) estimates of the returns to education.

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Article provided by Econometric Society in its journal Econometrica.

Volume (Year): 65 (1997)
Issue (Month): 3 (May)
Pages: 557-586

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Handle: RePEc:ecm:emetrp:v:65:y:1997:i:3:p:557-586
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  1. Nelson, C. & Startz, R., 1988. "Some Furthere Results On The Exact Small Sample Properties Of The Instrumental Variable Estimator," Discussion Papers in Economics at the University of Washington 88-06, Department of Economics at the University of Washington.
  2. In Choi & Peter C.B. Phillips, 1989. "Asymptotic and Finite Sample Distribution Theory for IV Estimators and Tests in Partially Identified Structural Equations," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 929, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  3. Mariano, Roberto S, 1982. "Analytical Small-Sample Distribution Theory in Econometrics: The Simultaneous-Equations Case," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 23(3), pages 503-33, October.
  4. Peter C.B. Phillips, 1982. "The Exact Distribution of LIML: I," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 658, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  5. Nelson, C. & Startz, R., 1988. "The Distribution Of The Instrumental Variables Estimator And Its T-Ratio When The Instrument Is A Poor One," Working Papers 88-07, University of Washington, Department of Economics.
  6. John Bound & David A. Jaeger & Regina Baker, 1993. "The Cure Can Be Worse than the Disease: A Cautionary Tale Regarding Instrumental Variables," NBER Technical Working Papers 0137, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. 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.
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