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A Cautionary Note on Using Industry Affiliation to Predict Income

  • Jörn-Steffen Pischke
  • Hannes Schwandt

Many literatures investigate the causal impact of income on economic outcomes, for example in the context of intergenerational transmission or well-being and health. Some studies have proposed to use employer wage differentials and in particular industry affiliation as an instrument for income. We demonstrate that industry affiliation is correlated with fixed individual characteristics, specifically parents' education and own height, conditional on the covariates typically controlled for in these studies. These results suggest that there is selection into industries based on unobservables. As a result the exclusion restriction in many IV studies of this type is likely violated.

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Paper provided by Centre for Economic Performance, LSE in its series CEP Discussion Papers with number dp1163.

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Date of creation: Sep 2012
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Handle: RePEc:cep:cepdps:dp1163
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  1. Carmit Segal, 2006. "Motivation, test scores and economic success," Economics Working Papers 1124, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Oct 2008.
  2. Daniel A. Ackerberg & Paul J. Devereux, 2009. "Improved JIVE Estimators for Overidentified Linear Models with and without Heteroskedasticity," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 91(2), pages 351-362, May.
  3. Jörn-Steffen Pischke, 2011. "Money and Happiness: Evidence from the Industry Wage Structure," CEP Discussion Papers dp1051, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  4. Blackburn, McKinley & Neumark, David, 1992. "Unobserved Ability, Efficiency Wages, and Interindustry Wage Differentials," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 107(4), pages 1421-36, November.
  5. Ritschl, Albrecht, 2012. "The German Transfer Problem, 1920-1933: A Sovereign Debt Perspective," CEPR Discussion Papers 9062, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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