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Sparse Models and Methods for Optimal Instruments With an Application to Eminent Domain

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  • A. Belloni
  • D. Chen
  • V. Chernozhukov
  • C. Hansen

Abstract

We develop results for the use of Lasso and Post-Lasso methods to form first-stage predictions and estimate optimal instruments in linear instrumental variables (IV) models with many instruments, $p$. Our results apply even when $p$ is much larger than the sample size, $n$. We show that the IV estimator based on using Lasso or Post-Lasso in the first stage is root-n consistent and asymptotically normal when the first-stage is approximately sparse; i.e. when the conditional expectation of the endogenous variables given the instruments can be well-approximated by a relatively small set of variables whose identities may be unknown. We also show the estimator is semi-parametrically efficient when the structural error is homoscedastic. Notably our results allow for imperfect model selection, and do not rely upon the unrealistic "beta-min" conditions that are widely used to establish validity of inference following model selection. In simulation experiments, the Lasso-based IV estimator with a data-driven penalty performs well compared to recently advocated many-instrument-robust procedures. In an empirical example dealing with the effect of judicial eminent domain decisions on economic outcomes, the Lasso-based IV estimator outperforms an intuitive benchmark. In developing the IV results, we establish a series of new results for Lasso and Post-Lasso estimators of nonparametric conditional expectation functions which are of independent theoretical and practical interest. We construct a modification of Lasso designed to deal with non-Gaussian, heteroscedastic disturbances which uses a data-weighted $\ell_1$-penalty function. Using moderate deviation theory for self-normalized sums, we provide convergence rates for the resulting Lasso and Post-Lasso estimators that are as sharp as the corresponding rates in the homoscedastic Gaussian case under the condition that $\log p = o(n^{1/3})$.
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Suggested Citation

  • A. Belloni & D. Chen & V. Chernozhukov & C. Hansen, 2012. "Sparse Models and Methods for Optimal Instruments With an Application to Eminent Domain," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 80(6), pages 2369-2429, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecm:emetrp:v:80:y:2012:i:6:p:2369-2429
    DOI: ECTA9626
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Carrasco, Marine & Tchuente, Guy, 2015. "Regularized LIML for many instruments," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 186(2), pages 427-442.
    2. Carrasco, Marine, 2012. "A regularization approach to the many instruments problem," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 170(2), pages 383-398.
    3. Chamberlain, Gary, 1987. "Asymptotic efficiency in estimation with conditional moment restrictions," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 34(3), pages 305-334, March.
    4. John C. Chao & Norman R. Swanson, 2005. "Consistent Estimation with a Large Number of Weak Instruments," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 73(5), pages 1673-1692, September.
    5. Brodie, Joshua & Daubechies, Ingrid & De Mol, Christine & Giannone, Domenico, 2007. "Sparse and Stable Markowitz Portfolios," CEPR Discussion Papers 6474, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    6. Okui, Ryo, 2011. "Instrumental variable estimation in the presence of many moment conditions," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 165(1), pages 70-86.
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    8. Jerry A. Hausman & Whitney K. Newey & Tiemen Woutersen & John C. Chao & Norman R. Swanson, 2012. "Instrumental variable estimation with heteroskedasticity and many instruments," Quantitative Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 3(2), pages 211-255, July.
    9. Victor DeMiguel & Lorenzo Garlappi & Francisco J. Nogales & Raman Uppal, 2009. "A Generalized Approach to Portfolio Optimization: Improving Performance by Constraining Portfolio Norms," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 55(5), pages 798-812, May.
    10. A. Belloni & D. Chen & V. Chernozhukov & C. Hansen, 2012. "Sparse Models and Methods for Optimal Instruments With an Application to Eminent Domain," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 80(6), pages 2369-2429, November.
    11. Frank Kleibergen, 2002. "Pivotal Statistics for Testing Structural Parameters in Instrumental Variables Regression," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(5), pages 1781-1803, September.
    12. Jinyong Hahn & Jerry Hausman & Guido Kuersteiner, 2004. "Estimation with weak instruments: Accuracy of higher-order bias and MSE approximations," Econometrics Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 7(1), pages 272-306, June.
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