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An economic analysis of exclusion restrictions for instrumental variable estimation

Instrumental variable estimation requires untestable exclusion restrictions. With policy effects on inidividual outcomes, there is typically a time interval between the moment the agent realizes that he may be exposed to the policy and the actual exposure or the announcement of the actual treatment status. In such cases there is an incentive for the agent to acquire information on the value of the IV. This leads to violation of the exclusion restriction. We analyze this in a dynamic economic model framework. This provides a foundation of exclusion restrictions in terms of economic behavior. The results are used to describe policy evaluation settings in which instrumental variables are likely or unlikely to make sense. For the latter cases we analyze the asymptotic bias. The exclusion restriction is more likely to be violated if the outcome of interest strongly depends on interactions between the agent's effort before the outcome is realized and the actual treatment status. The bias has the same sign as this interaction effect. Violation does not causally depend on the weakness of the candidate intstrument or the size of the average treatment effect. With experiments, violation is more likely if the treatment and control groups are to be of similar size. We also address side-effects. We develop a novel economic interpretation of placebo effects and provide some empirical evidence for the relevance of the analysis.

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Paper provided by IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy in its series Working Paper Series with number 2007:10.

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Length: 41 pages
Date of creation: 18 Feb 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hhs:ifauwp:2007_010
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  1. van den Berg, Gerard & Lindeboom, Maarten & López, Marta, 2007. "Inequality in individual mortality and economic conditions earlier in life," Working Paper Series 2007:7, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
  2. Jonathan Levin & Susan Athey, 2001. "The Value of Information in Monotone Decision Problems," Working Papers 01003, Stanford University, Department of Economics.
  3. Heckman, James J. & Lalonde, Robert J. & Smith, Jeffrey A., 1999. "The economics and econometrics of active labor market programs," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 31, pages 1865-2097 Elsevier.
  4. Andersson, Christian, 2007. "Teacher density and student achievement in Swedish compulsory schools," Working Paper Series 2007:5, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
  5. Andersson, Christian & Waldenström, Nina, 2007. "Teacher supply and the market for teachers," Working Paper Series 2007:5, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
  6. Lundin, Daniela & Mörk, Eva & Öckert, Björn, 2007. "Do reduced child care prices make parents work more?," Working Paper Series 2007:2, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
  7. Stock, James H & Wright, Jonathan H & Yogo, Motohiro, 2002. "A Survey of Weak Instruments and Weak Identification in Generalized Method of Moments," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 20(4), pages 518-29, October.
  8. Jaap Abbring & Gerard van den Berg, 2005. "Social experiments and instrumental variables with duration outcomes," IFS Working Papers W05/19, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  9. Imbens, Guido W & Angrist, Joshua D, 1994. "Identification and Estimation of Local Average Treatment Effects," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(2), pages 467-75, March.
  10. Nicola Persico, 2000. "Information Acquisition in Auctions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 68(1), pages 135-148, January.
  11. Tat Y. Chan & Barton H. Hamilton, 2006. "Learning, Private Information, and the Economic Evaluation of Randomized Experiments," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 114(6), pages 997-1040, December.
  12. Anup Malani, 2006. "Identifying Placebo Effects with Data from Clinical Trials," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 114(2), pages 236-256, April.
  13. Jaap H. Abbring & Gerard J. van den Berg, 2003. "The Nonparametric Identification of Treatment Effects in Duration Models," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(5), pages 1491-1517, 09.
  14. Richard Blundell & James Powell, 2001. "Endogeneity in nonparametric and semiparametric regression models," CeMMAP working papers CWP09/01, Centre for Microdata Methods and Practice, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  15. J.D. Angrist & Guido W. Imbens & D.B. Rubin, 1993. "Identification of Causal Effects Using Instrumental Variables," NBER Technical Working Papers 0136, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Christian Gollier, 2004. "The Economics of Risk and Time," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262572249, June.
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