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The Empirical Economist's Toolkit: From Models to Methods

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  • Matthew T. Panhans
  • John D. Singleton

Abstract

While historians of economics have noted the transition toward empirical work in economics since the 1970s, less understood is the shift toward \quasi-experimental" methods in applied microeconomics. Angrist and Pischke (2010) trumpet the wide application of these methods as a \credibility revolution" in econometrics that has nally provided persuasive answers to a diverse set of questions. Particularly in uential in the applied areas of labor, education, public, and health economics, the methods shape the knowledge produced by economists and the expertise they possess. First documenting their growth bibliometrically, this paper aims to illuminate the origins, content, and contexts of quasi-experimental research designs, which seek natural experiments to justify causal inference. To highlight lines of continuity and discontinuity in the transition, the quasi-experimental program is situated in the historical context of the Cowles econometric framework and a case study from the economics of education is used to contrast the practical implementation of the approaches. Finally, signi cant historical contexts of the paradigm shift are explored, including the marketability of quasi-experimental methods and the 1980s crisis in econometrics.

Suggested Citation

  • Matthew T. Panhans & John D. Singleton, 2015. "The Empirical Economist's Toolkit: From Models to Methods," Center for the History of Political Economy Working Paper Series 2015-3, Center for the History of Political Economy.
  • Handle: RePEc:hec:heccee:2015-3
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    File URL: http://hope.econ.duke.edu/node/1126
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Glötzl, Florentin & Aigner, Ernest, 2015. "Pluralism in the Market of Science? A citation network analysis of economic research at universities in Vienna," Ecological Economic Papers 5, WU Vienna University of Economics and Business.
    2. Joshua D. Angrist & Jorn-Steffen Pischke, 2019. "Undergraduate econometrics instruction: through our classes, darkly (in Russian)," Quantile, Quantile, issue 14, pages 1-20, June.
    3. Joshua D. Angrist & Jörn-Steffen Pischke, 2017. "Undergraduate Econometrics Instruction: Through Our Classes, Darkly," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 31(2), pages 125-144, Spring.
    4. Michel De Vroey & Luca Pensieroso, 2016. "The Rise of a Mainstream in Economics," Discussion Papers (IRES - Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales) 2016026, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
    5. Nicolas Vallois & Dorian Jullien, 2017. "Estimating Rationality in Economics: A History of Statistical Methods in Experimental Economics," GREDEG Working Papers 2017-20, Groupe de REcherche en Droit, Economie, Gestion (GREDEG CNRS), Université Côte d'Azur, France.
    6. Joshua Angrist & Pierre Azoulay & Glenn Ellison & Ryan Hill & Susan Feng Lu, 2017. "Inside Job or Deep Impact? Using Extramural Citations to Assess Economic Scholarship," NBER Working Papers 23698, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Nicolas Vallois & Dorian Jullien, 2018. "A History of Statistical Methods in Experimental Economics," Post-Print halshs-01651070, HAL.
    8. Slavica Manic, 2016. "Economics Imperialism: SWOT Analysis," Asian Economic and Financial Review, Asian Economic and Social Society, vol. 6(3), pages 151-161, March.
    9. Florentin Gloetzl & Ernest Aigner, 2015. "Pluralism in the Market of Science? A citation network analysis of economic research at universities in Vienna," Ecological Economics Papers ieep5, Institute of Ecological Economics.
    10. Yann Giraud & José Edwards & Christophe Schinckus, 2018. "A quantitative turn in the historiography of economics?," Post-Print halshs-01876415, HAL.
    11. Nicolas Vallois & Dorian Jullien, 2017. "Estimating Rationality in Economics: A History of Statistical Methods in Experimental Economics," Working Papers halshs-01651070, HAL.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    econometrics; quasi-experimental methods; natural experiments; applied economics;

    JEL classification:

    • B21 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought since 1925 - - - Microeconomics
    • B23 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought since 1925 - - - Econometrics; Quantitative and Mathematical Studies
    • B4 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Economic Methodology
    • C1 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General

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