IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

Inference on counterfactual distributions

Listed author(s):
  • Victor Chernozhukov


    (Institute for Fiscal Studies and MIT)

  • Ivan Fernandez-Val

    (Institute for Fiscal Studies and University of Boston)

  • Blaise Melly

    (Institute for Fiscal Studies)

In this paper we develop procedures for performing inference in regression models about how potential policy interventions affect the entire marginal distribution of an outcome of interest. These policy interventions consist of either changes in the distribution of covariates related to the outcome holding the conditional distribution of the outcome given covariates fixed, or changes in the conditional distribution of the outcome given covariates holding the marginal distribution of the covariates fixed. Under either of these assumptions, we obtain uniformly consistent estimates and functional central limit theorems for the counterfactual and status quo marginal distributions of the outcome as well as other function-valued effects of the policy, including, for example, the effects of the policy on the marginal distribution function, quantile function, and other related functionals. We construct simultaneous confidence sets for these functions; these sets take into account the sampling variation in the estimation of the relationship between the outcome and covariates. Our procedures rely on, and our theory covers, all main regression approaches for modeling and estimating conditional distributions, focusing especially on classical, quantile, duration, and distribution regressions. Our procedures are general and accommodate both simple unitary changes in the values of a given covariate as well as changes in the distribution of the covariates or the conditional distribution of the outcome given covariates of general form. We apply the procedures to examine the effects of labor market institutions on the U.S. wage distribution.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Centre for Microdata Methods and Practice, Institute for Fiscal Studies in its series CeMMAP working papers with number CWP09/09.

in new window

Date of creation: 07 May 2009
Handle: RePEc:ifs:cemmap:09/09
Contact details of provider: Postal:
The Institute for Fiscal Studies 7 Ridgmount Street LONDON WC1E 7AE

Phone: (+44) 020 7291 4800
Fax: (+44) 020 7323 4780
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

Order Information: Postal: The Institute for Fiscal Studies 7 Ridgmount Street LONDON WC1E 7AE

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

in new window

  1. Guido W. Imbens & Jeffrey M. Wooldridge, 2009. "Recent Developments in the Econometrics of Program Evaluation," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 47(1), pages 5-86, March.
  2. Joshua Angrist & Victor Chernozhukov & Iván Fernández-Val, 2006. "Quantile Regression under Misspecification, with an Application to the U.S. Wage Structure," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 74(2), pages 539-563, 03.
  3. Abbring, Jaap H. & Heckman, James J., 2007. "Econometric Evaluation of Social Programs, Part III: Distributional Treatment Effects, Dynamic Treatment Effects, Dynamic Discrete Choice, and General Equilibrium Policy Evaluation," Handbook of Econometrics, in: J.J. Heckman & E.E. Leamer (ed.), Handbook of Econometrics, edition 1, volume 6, chapter 72 Elsevier.
  4. José Mata & José A. F. Machado, 2005. "Counterfactual decomposition of changes in wage distributions using quantile regression," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 20(4), pages 445-465.
  5. Roger Koenker & Zhijie Xiao, 2002. "Inference on the Quantile Regression Process," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(4), pages 1583-1612, July.
  6. Victor Chernozhukov & Christian Hansen, 2005. "An IV Model of Quantile Treatment Effects," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 73(1), pages 245-261, 01.
  7. Victor Chernozhukov & Ivan Fernandez-Val & Alfred Galichon, 2010. "Quantile and Probability Curves without Crossing," Post-Print hal-01052958, HAL.
  8. SErgio Firpo & Nicole M. Fortin & Thomas Lemieux, 2006. "Unconditional Quantile Regressions," Textos para discussão 533, Department of Economics PUC-Rio (Brazil).
  9. Radulovic, Dragan & Wegkamp, Marten, 2003. "Necessary and sufficient conditions for weak convergence of smoothed empirical processes," Statistics & Probability Letters, Elsevier, vol. 61(3), pages 321-336, February.
  10. Koenker, Roger & Yoon, Jungmo, 2009. "Parametric links for binary choice models: A Fisherian-Bayesian colloquy," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 152(2), pages 120-130, October.
  11. Sokbae Lee & Oliver Linton & Yoon-Jae Whang, 2006. "Testing for stochastic monotonicity," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 4425, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  12. Victor Chernozhukov & Ivan Fernandez-Val & Blaise Melly, 2013. "Inference on counterfactual distributions," CeMMAP working papers CWP17/13, Centre for Microdata Methods and Practice, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  13. Andrews, Donald W K, 1993. "Tests for Parameter Instability and Structural Change with Unknown Change Point," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 61(4), pages 821-856, July.
  14. David H. Autor & Lawrence F. Katz & Melissa S. Kearney, 2006. "The Polarization of the U.S. Labor Market," NBER Working Papers 11986, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Chernozhukov, Victor & Hansen, Christian, 2006. "Instrumental quantile regression inference for structural and treatment effect models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 132(2), pages 491-525, June.
  16. Sergio Firpo, 2007. "Efficient Semiparametric Estimation of Quantile Treatment Effects," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 75(1), pages 259-276, 01.
  17. Hahn, Jinyong, 1995. "Bootstrapping Quantile Regression Estimators," Econometric Theory, Cambridge University Press, vol. 11(01), pages 105-121, February.
  18. Rothe, Christoph, 2010. "Nonparametric estimation of distributional policy effects," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 155(1), pages 56-70, March.
  19. Amanda Gosling & Stephen Machin & Costas Meghir, 1994. "The changing distribution of male wages in the UK," IFS Working Papers W94/13, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  20. Davidson, James & de Jong, Robert M., 2000. "The Functional Central Limit Theorem And Weak Convergence To Stochastic Integrals Ii," Econometric Theory, Cambridge University Press, vol. 16(05), pages 643-666, October.
  21. Alberto Abadie & Joshua Angrist & Guido Imbens, 2002. "Instrumental Variables Estimates of the Effect of Subsidized Training on the Quantiles of Trainee Earnings," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(1), pages 91-117, January.
  22. Buchinsky, Moshe, 1994. "Changes in the U.S. Wage Structure 1963-1987: Application of Quantile Regression," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(2), pages 405-458, March.
  23. Victor Chernozhukov & Iván Fernández-Val & Amanda E. Kowalski, 2011. "Quantile Regression with Censoring and Endogeneity," NBER Working Papers 16997, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  24. Andrew Chesher, 2003. "Identification in Nonseparable Models," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(5), pages 1405-1441, 09.
  25. David H. Autor & Lawrence F. Katz & Melissa S. Kearney, 2008. "Trends in U.S. Wage Inequality: Revising the Revisionists," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 90(2), pages 300-323, May.
  26. Keisuke Hirano & Guido W. Imbens & Geert Ridder, 2003. "Efficient Estimation of Average Treatment Effects Using the Estimated Propensity Score," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(4), pages 1161-1189, 07.
  27. Nidardo, J. & Fortin, N. & Lemieux, T., 1994. "Labor Market Institutions and the Distribution of Wages, 1973-1992: A Semiparametric Approach," Papers 93-94-15, California Irvine - School of Social Sciences.
  28. Hong H. & Chernozhukov V., 2002. "Three-Step Censored Quantile Regression and Extramarital Affairs," Journal of the American Statistical Association, American Statistical Association, vol. 97, pages 872-882, September.
  29. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521848053 is not listed on IDEAS
  30. Rothe, Christoph, 2011. "Partial Distributional Policy Effects," IZA Discussion Papers 6076, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  31. Christoph Rothe & Dominik Wied, 2013. "Misspecification Testing in a Class of Conditional Distributional Models," Journal of the American Statistical Association, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 108(501), pages 314-324, March.
  32. Koenker, Roger W & Bassett, Gilbert, Jr, 1978. "Regression Quantiles," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(1), pages 33-50, January.
  33. Rolf Aaberge & Steinar Bjerve & Kjell Doksum, 2005. "Decomposition of rank-dependent measures of inequality by subgroups," Metron - International Journal of Statistics, Dipartimento di Statistica, Probabilità e Statistiche Applicate - University of Rome, vol. 0(3), pages 493-503.
  34. Jim Albrecht & Aico van Vuuren & Susan Vroman, 2007. "Counterfactual Distributions with Sample Selection Adjustments: Econometric Theory and an Application to the Netherlands," Working Papers gueconwpa~07-07-06, Georgetown University, Department of Economics.
  35. Thomas Lemieux, 2006. "Increasing Residual Wage Inequality: Composition Effects, Noisy Data, or Rising Demand for Skill?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(3), pages 461-498, June.
  36. Stephen G. Donald & David A. Green & Harry J. Paarsch, 2000. "Differences in Wage Distributions Between Canada and the United States: An Application of a Flexible Estimator of Distribution Functions in the Presence of Covariates," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 67(4), pages 609-633.
  37. Garry F. Barrett & Stephen G. Donald, 2003. "Consistent Tests for Stochastic Dominance," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(1), pages 71-104, January.
  38. Bhattacharya, Debopam, 2007. "Inference on inequality from household survey data," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 137(2), pages 674-707, April.
  39. James J. Heckman & Jeffrey Smith & Nancy Clements, 1997. "Making The Most Out Of Programme Evaluations and Social Experiments: Accounting For Heterogeneity in Programme Impacts," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 64(4), pages 487-535.
  40. Barrett, Garry F. & Donald, Stephen G., 2009. "Statistical Inference with Generalized Gini Indices of Inequality, Poverty, and Welfare," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 27, pages 1-17.
  41. Andrews, Donald W K, 1988. "Chi-Square Diagnostic Tests for Econometric Models: Theory," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(6), pages 1419-1453, November.
  42. Powell, James L., 1986. "Censored regression quantiles," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 143-155, June.
  43. Han, Aaron & Hausman, Jerry A, 1990. "Flexible Parametric Estimation of Duration and Competing Risk Models," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 5(1), pages 1-28, January-M.
  44. Foresi, S. & Paracchi, F., 1992. "The Conditional Distribution of Excess Returns: An Empirical Analysis," Working Papers 92-49, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ifs:cemmap:09/09. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Emma Hyman)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.