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An Evaluation of Instrumental Variable Strategies for Estimating the Effects of Catholic Schooling

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  • Joseph G. Altonji
  • Todd E. Elder
  • Christopher R. Taber

Abstract

Several previous studies have relied on religious affiliation and the proximity to Catholic schools as exogenous sources of variation for identifying the effect of Catholic schooling on a wide variety of outcomes. Using three separate approaches, we examine the validity of these instrumental variables. We find that none of the candidate instruments is a useful source of identification in currently available data sets. We also investigate the role of exclusion restrictions versus nonlinearity as the source of identification in bivariate probit models. The analysis may be useful as a template for the assessment of instrumental variables strategies in other applications.

Suggested Citation

  • Joseph G. Altonji & Todd E. Elder & Christopher R. Taber, 2005. "An Evaluation of Instrumental Variable Strategies for Estimating the Effects of Catholic Schooling," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 40(4), pages 791-821.
  • Handle: RePEc:uwp:jhriss:v:40:y:2005:i:4:p:791-821
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    1. Stephen V. Cameron & James J. Heckman, 1998. "Life Cycle Schooling and Dynamic Selection Bias: Models and Evidence for Five Cohorts of American Males," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(2), pages 262-333, April.
    2. Stephen V. Cameron & James J. Heckman, 1998. "Life Cycle Schooling and Dynamic Selection Bias: Models and Evidence for Five Cohorts," NBER Working Papers 6385, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Eric M. Engen & William G. Gale & John Karl Scholz, 1996. "The Illusory Effects of Saving Incentives on Saving," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 10(4), pages 113-138, Fall.
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