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Testing the correlated random coefficient model

  • Heckman, James J.
  • Schmierer, Daniel
  • Urzua, Sergio

The recent literature on instrumental variables (IV) features models in which agents sort into treatment status on the basis of gains from treatment as well as on baseline-pretreatment levels. Components of the gains known to the agents and acted on by them may not be known by the observing economist. Such models are called correlated random coefficient models. Sorting on unobserved components of gains complicates the interpretation of what IV estimates. This paper examines testable implications of the hypothesis that agents do not sort into treatment based on gains. In it, we develop new tests to gauge the empirical relevance of the correlated random coefficient model to examine whether the additional complications associated with it are required. We examine the power of the proposed tests. We derive a new representation of the variance of the instrumental variable estimator for the correlated random coefficient model. We apply the methods in this paper to the prototypical empirical problem of estimating the return to schooling and find evidence of sorting into schooling based on unobserved components of gains.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Econometrics.

Volume (Year): 158 (2010)
Issue (Month): 2 (October)
Pages: 177-203

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Handle: RePEc:eee:econom:v:158:y:2010:i:2:p:177-203
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/jeconom

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  1. James J. Heckman & Edward Vytlacil, 2005. "Structural Equations, Treatment Effects and Econometric Policy Evaluation," NBER Working Papers 11259, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. James J. Heckman & Sergio Urzua & Edward J. Vytlacil, 2006. "Understanding Instrumental Variables in Models with Essential Heterogeneity," NBER Working Papers 12574, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. James J. Heckman & Vytlacil, Edward J., 2007. "Econometric Evaluation of Social Programs, Part I: Causal Models, Structural Models and Econometric Policy Evaluation," Handbook of Econometrics, in: J.J. Heckman & E.E. Leamer (ed.), Handbook of Econometrics, edition 1, volume 6, chapter 70 Elsevier.
  4. Newey, Whitney K., 1997. "Convergence rates and asymptotic normality for series estimators," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 79(1), pages 147-168, July.
  5. Bierens, H.J., 1989. "A consistent conditional moment test of functional form," Serie Research Memoranda 0064, VU University Amsterdam, Faculty of Economics, Business Administration and Econometrics.
  6. Hidehiko Ichimura & Petra E. Todd, 2006. "Implementing Nonparametric and Semiparametric Estimators," CIRJE F-Series CIRJE-F-452, CIRJE, Faculty of Economics, University of Tokyo.
  7. Heckman, James J. & Robb, Richard Jr., 1985. "Alternative methods for evaluating the impact of interventions : An overview," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 30(1-2), pages 239-267.
  8. Griliches, Zvi, 1977. "Estimating the Returns to Schooling: Some Econometric Problems," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 45(1), pages 1-22, January.
  9. Yitzhaki, Shlomo, 1996. "On Using Linear Regressions in Welfare Economics," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 14(4), pages 478-86, October.
  10. Joshua D. Angrist & Guido W. Imbens, 1995. "Identification and Estimation of Local Average Treatment Effects," NBER Technical Working Papers 0118, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Abbring, Jaap H. & Heckman, James J., 2007. "Econometric Evaluation of Social Programs, Part III: Distributional Treatment Effects, Dynamic Treatment Effects, Dynamic Discrete Choice, and General Equilibrium Policy Evaluation," Handbook of Econometrics, in: J.J. Heckman & E.E. Leamer (ed.), Handbook of Econometrics, edition 1, volume 6, chapter 72 Elsevier.
  12. Horowitz, Joel L & Spokoiny, Vladimir G, 2001. "An Adaptive, Rate-Optimal Test of a Parametric Mean-Regression Model against a Nonparametric Alternative," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(3), pages 599-631, May.
  13. Hansen, Karsten T. & Heckman, James J. & Mullen, Kathleen, 2003. "The Effect of Schooling and Ability on Achievement Test Scores," IZA Discussion Papers 826, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  14. Joseph Romano & Michael Wolf, 2003. "Exact and approximate stepdown methods for multiple hypothesis testing," Economics Working Papers 727, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  15. Newey, Whitney K, 1985. "Maximum Likelihood Specification Testing and Conditional Moment Tests," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 53(5), pages 1047-70, September.
  16. James J. Heckman, 2001. "Micro Data, Heterogeneity, and the Evaluation of Public Policy: Nobel Lecture," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 109(4), pages 673-748, August.
  17. Bierens, Herman J., 1982. "Consistent model specification tests," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 20(1), pages 105-134, October.
  18. James Heckman & Edward Vytlacil, 1998. "Instrumental Variables Methods for the Correlated Random Coefficient Model: Estimating the Average Rate of Return to Schooling When the Return is Correlated with Schooling," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 33(4), pages 974-987.
  19. Edward Vytlacil, 2002. "Independence, Monotonicity, and Latent Index Models: An Equivalence Result," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(1), pages 331-341, January.
  20. Herman J. Bierens & Werner Ploberger, 1997. "Asymptotic Theory of Integrated Conditional Moment Tests," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 65(5), pages 1129-1152, September.
  21. James J. Heckman & Vytlacil, Edward J., 2007. "Econometric Evaluation of Social Programs, Part II: Using the Marginal Treatment Effect to Organize Alternative Econometric Estimators to Evaluate Social Programs, and to Forecast their Effects in New," Handbook of Econometrics, in: J.J. Heckman & E.E. Leamer (ed.), Handbook of Econometrics, edition 1, volume 6, chapter 71 Elsevier.
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