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Wild Bootstrap Inference for Wildly Different Cluster Sizes

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  • James G. Mackinnon
  • Matthew D. Webb

Abstract

The cluster robust variance estimator (CRVE) relies on the number of clusters being sufficiently large. Monte Carlo evidence suggests that the "rule of 42" is not true for unbalanced clusters. Rejection frequencies are higher for datasets with 50 clusters proportional to U.S. state populations than with 50 balanced clusters. Using critical values based on the wild cluster bootstrap performs much better. However, this procedure fails when a small number of clusters is treated. We explain why CRVE t statistics and the wild bootstrap fail in this case, study the "effective number" of clusters, and simulate placebo laws with dummy variable regressors.
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Suggested Citation

  • James G. Mackinnon & Matthew D. Webb, 2017. "Wild Bootstrap Inference for Wildly Different Cluster Sizes," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 32(2), pages 233-254, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:wly:japmet:v:32:y:2017:i:2:p:233-254
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. A. Colin Cameron & Jonah B. Gelbach & Douglas L. Miller, 2008. "Bootstrap-Based Improvements for Inference with Clustered Errors," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 90(3), pages 414-427, August.
    2. Davidson, Russell & Flachaire, Emmanuel, 2008. "The wild bootstrap, tamed at last," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 146(1), pages 162-169, September.
    3. repec:tpr:restat:v:99:y:2017:i:4:p:698-709 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Stephen G. Donald & Kevin Lang, 2007. "Inference with Difference-in-Differences and Other Panel Data," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 89(2), pages 221-233, May.
    5. Moulton, Brent R., 1986. "Random group effects and the precision of regression estimates," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 385-397, August.
    6. Kloek, T, 1981. "OLS Estimation in a Model Where a Microvariable Is Explained by Aggregates and Contemporaneous Disturbances Are Equicorrelated," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 49(1), pages 205-207, January.
    7. Matthew D. Webb, 2014. "Reworking Wild Bootstrap Based Inference for Clustered Errors," Working Papers 1315, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
    8. Bester, C. Alan & Conley, Timothy G. & Hansen, Christian B., 2011. "Inference with dependent data using cluster covariance estimators," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 165(2), pages 137-151.
    9. Abadie, Alberto & Diamond, Alexis & Hainmueller, Jens, 2010. "Synthetic Control Methods for Comparative Case Studies: Estimating the Effect of California’s Tobacco Control Program," Journal of the American Statistical Association, American Statistical Association, vol. 105(490), pages 493-505.
    10. Ibragimov, Rustam & Müller, Ulrich K., 2010. "t-Statistic Based Correlation and Heterogeneity Robust Inference," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 28(4), pages 453-468.
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    JEL classification:

    • C15 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Statistical Simulation Methods: General
    • C21 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Cross-Sectional Models; Spatial Models; Treatment Effect Models
    • C23 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Models with Panel Data; Spatio-temporal Models

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