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A semi-parametric Bayesian approach to the instrumental variable problem


  • Conley, Timothy G.
  • Hansen, Christian B.
  • McCulloch, Robert E.
  • Rossi, Peter E.


We develop a Bayesian semi-parametric approach to the instrumental variable problem. We assume linear structural and reduced form equations, but model the error distributions non-parametrically. A Dirichlet process prior is used for the joint distribution of structural and instrumental variable equations errors. Our implementation of the Dirichlet process prior uses a normal distribution as a base model. It can therefore be interpreted as modeling the unknown joint distribution with a mixture of normal distributions with a variable number of mixture components. We demonstrate that this procedure is both feasible and sensible using actual and simulated data. Sampling experiments compare inferences from the non-parametric Bayesian procedure with those based on procedures from the recent literature on weak instrument asymptotics. When errors are non-normal, our procedure is more efficient than standard Bayesian or classical methods.

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  • Conley, Timothy G. & Hansen, Christian B. & McCulloch, Robert E. & Rossi, Peter E., 2008. "A semi-parametric Bayesian approach to the instrumental variable problem," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 144(1), pages 276-305, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:econom:v:144:y:2008:i:1:p:276-305

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    References listed on IDEAS

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