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Decision Theory Applied to an Instrumental Variables Model


  • Gary Chamberlain


This paper applies some general concepts in decision theory to a simple instrumental variables model. There are two endogenous variables linked by a single structural equation; k of the exogenous variables are excluded from this structural equation and provide the instrumental variables (IV). The reduced-form distribution of the endogenous variables conditional on the exogenous variables corresponds to independent draws from a bivariate normal distribution with linear regression functions and a known covariance matrix. A canonical form of the model has parameter vector (rho, phi, omega), where phi is the parameter of interest and is normalized to be a point on the unit circle. The reduced-form coefficients on the instrumental variables are split into a scalar parameter rho and a parameter vector omega, which is normalized to be a point on the (k - 1)-dimensional unit sphere; rho measures the strength of the association between the endogenous variables and the instrumental variables, and omega is a measure of direction. A prior distribution is introduced for the IV model. The parameters phi, rho, and omega are treated as independent random variables. The distribution for phi is uniform on the unit circle; the distribution for omega is uniform on the unit sphere with dimension k-1. These choices arise from the solution of a minimax problem. The prior for rho is left general. It turns out that given any positive value for rho, the Bayes estimator of phi does not depend on rho; it equals the maximum-likelihood estimator. This Bayes estimator has constant risk; because it minimizes average risk with respect to a proper prior, it is minimax. Copyright The Econometric Society 2007.

Suggested Citation

  • Gary Chamberlain, 2007. "Decision Theory Applied to an Instrumental Variables Model," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 75(3), pages 609-652, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecm:emetrp:v:75:y:2007:i:3:p:609-652

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. T. W. Anderson & Naoto Kunitomo & Yukitoshi Matsushita, 2009. "The Limited Information Maximum Likelihood Estimator as an Angle," CIRJE F-Series CIRJE-F-619, CIRJE, Faculty of Economics, University of Tokyo.
    2. Jann Spiess, 2017. "Bias Reduction in Instrumental Variable Estimation through First-Stage Shrinkage," Papers 1708.06443,, revised Oct 2017.
    3. Andrews, Donald W.K. & Moreira, Marcelo J. & Stock, James H., 2008. "Efficient two-sided nonsimilar invariant tests in IV regression with weak instruments," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 146(2), pages 241-254, October.
    4. Mills, Benjamin & Moreira, Marcelo J. & Vilela, Lucas P., 2014. "Tests based on t-statistics for IV regression with weak instruments," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 182(2), pages 351-363.
    5. Marc Hallin & Marcelo Moreira J. & Alexei Onatski, 2013. "Group Invariance, Likelihood Ratio Tests, and the Incidental Parameter Problem in a High-Dimensional Linear Model," Working Papers ECARES ECARES 2013-04, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.

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