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The Interpretation of Instrumental Variables Estimators in Simultaneous Equations Models with an Application to the Demand for Fish


  • Joshua D. Angrist
  • Kathryn Graddy
  • Guido W. Imbens


In markets where prices are determined by the intersection of supply and demand curves, standard identification results require the presence of instruments that shift one curve but not the other. These results are typically presented in the context of linear models with fixed coefficients and additive residuals. The first contribution of this paper is an investigation of the consequences of relaxing both the linearity and the additivity assumption for the interpretation of linear instrumental variables estimators. Without these assumptions, the standard linear instrumental variables estimator identifies a weighted average of the derivative of the behavioural relationship of interest. A second contribution is the formulation of critical identifying assumptions in terms of demand and supply at different prices and instruments, rather than in terms of functional-form specific residuals. Our approach to the simultaneous equations problem and the average-derivative interpretation of instrumental variables estimates is illustrated by estimating the demand for fresh whiting at the Fulton fish market. Strong and credible instruments for identification of this demand function are available in the form of weather conditions at sea.

Suggested Citation

  • Joshua D. Angrist & Kathryn Graddy & Guido W. Imbens, 2000. "The Interpretation of Instrumental Variables Estimators in Simultaneous Equations Models with an Application to the Demand for Fish," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 67(3), pages 499-527.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:restud:v:67:y:2000:i:3:p:499-527.

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