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Causal Effects of Perceived Immutable Characteristics

Author

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  • D. James Greiner

    (Harvard Law School)

  • Donald B. Rubin

    (Harvard University)

Abstract

Despite their ubiquity, observational studies to infer the causal effect of a so-called immutable characteristic, such as race or sex, have struggled for coherence, given the unavailability of a manipulation analogous to a “treatment” in a randomized experiment and the danger of posttreatment bias. We demonstrate that a shift in focus from actual traits to perceptions of them can address both of these issues while facilitating articulation of other critical concepts, particularly the timing of treatment assignment. We illustrate concepts by discussing the designs of various studies of the role of race in trial court death penalty decisions. © 2011 The President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Suggested Citation

  • D. James Greiner & Donald B. Rubin, 2011. "Causal Effects of Perceived Immutable Characteristics," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 93(3), pages 775-785, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:tpr:restat:v:93:y:2011:i:3:p:775-785
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    Cited by:

    1. Olsson, Ola & Siba, Eyerusalem, 2013. "Ethnic cleansing or resource struggle in Darfur? An empirical analysis," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 103(C), pages 299-312.
    2. Sloczynski, Tymon, 2015. "Average Wage Gaps and Oaxaca–Blinder Decompositions," IZA Discussion Papers 9036, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    3. Martin Huber, 2015. "Causal Pitfalls in the Decomposition of Wage Gaps," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 33(2), pages 179-191, April.
    4. Pierre Bentata & Yolande Hiriart, 2015. "Biased Judges: Evidence from French Environmental Cases," Working Papers hal-01377922, HAL.
    5. repec:bla:jorssa:v:180:y:2017:i:3:p:817-839 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Arpino, Bruno & Mattei, Alessandra, 2013. "Assessing the Impact of Financial Aids to Firms: Causal Inference in the presence of Interference," MPRA Paper 51795, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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