IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Intersection Bounds: estimation and inference


  • Victor Chernozhukov

    () (Institute for Fiscal Studies and MIT)

  • Sokbae Lee

    () (Institute for Fiscal Studies and Columbia University and IFS)

  • Adam Rosen

    () (Institute for Fiscal Studies and Duke University)


We develop a practical and novel method for inference on intersection bounds, namely bounds defined by either the infimum or supremum of a parametric or nonparametric function, or equivalently, the value of a linear programming problem with a potentially infinite constraint set. Our approach is especially convenient in models comprised of a continuum of inequalities that are separable in parameters, and also applies to models with inequalities that are non-separable in parameters. Since analog estimators for intersection bounds can be severely biased in finite samples, routinely underestimating the length of the identified set, we also offer a (downward/upward) median unbiased estimator of these (upper/lower) bounds as a natural by-product of our inferential procedure. Furthermore, our method appears to be the first and currently only method for inference in nonparametric models with a continuum of inequalities. We develop asymptotic theory for our method based on the strong approximation of a sequence of studentized empirical processes by a sequence of Gaussian or other pivotal processes. We provide conditions for the use of nonparametric kernel and series estimators, including a novel result that establishes strong approximation for general series estimators, which may be of independent interest. We illustrate the usefulness of our method with Monte Carlo experiments and an empirical example.

Suggested Citation

  • Victor Chernozhukov & Sokbae Lee & Adam Rosen, 2009. "Intersection Bounds: estimation and inference," CeMMAP working papers CWP19/09, Centre for Microdata Methods and Practice, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  • Handle: RePEc:ifs:cemmap:19/09

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Manski, Charles F, 1990. "Nonparametric Bounds on Treatment Effects," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(2), pages 319-323, May.
    2. Andrews, Donald W K, 1991. "Asymptotic Normality of Series Estimators for Nonparametric and Semiparametric Regression Models," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(2), pages 307-345, March.
    3. Richard Blundell & Amanda Gosling & Hidehiko Ichimura & Costas Meghir, 2007. "Changes in the Distribution of Male and Female Wages Accounting for Employment Composition Using Bounds," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 75(2), pages 323-363, March.
    4. Victor Chernozhukov & Sokbae Lee & Adam M. Rosen, 2013. "Intersection Bounds: Estimation and Inference," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 81(2), pages 667-737, March.
    5. Sokbae Lee & Oliver Linton & Yoon-Jae Whang, 2009. "Testing for Stochastic Monotonicity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 77(2), pages 585-602, March.
    6. Kong, Efang & Linton, Oliver & Xia, Yingcun, 2010. "Uniform Bahadur Representation For Local Polynomial Estimates Of M-Regression And Its Application To The Additive Model," Econometric Theory, Cambridge University Press, vol. 26(05), pages 1529-1564, October.
    7. Victor Chernozhukov & Han Hong & Elie Tamer, 2007. "Estimation and Confidence Regions for Parameter Sets in Econometric Models," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 75(5), pages 1243-1284, September.
    8. Arie Beresteanu & Francesca Molinari, 2008. "Asymptotic Properties for a Class of Partially Identified Models," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 76(4), pages 763-814, July.
    9. Kreider, Brent & Pepper, John V., 2007. "Disability and Employment: Reevaluating the Evidence in Light of Reporting Errors," Journal of the American Statistical Association, American Statistical Association, vol. 102, pages 432-441, June.
    10. Lee, Sokbae & Wilke, Ralf A., 2009. "Reform of Unemployment Compensation in Germany: A Nonparametric Bounds Analysis Using Register Data," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 27(2), pages 193-205.
    11. Rosen, Adam M., 2008. "Confidence sets for partially identified parameters that satisfy a finite number of moment inequalities," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 146(1), pages 107-117, September.
    12. Charles F. Manski & John V. Pepper, 2000. "Monotone Instrumental Variables, with an Application to the Returns to Schooling," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 68(4), pages 997-1012, July.
    13. Newey, Whitney K., 1997. "Convergence rates and asymptotic normality for series estimators," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 79(1), pages 147-168, July.
    14. Carneiro, Pedro & Lee, Sokbae, 2009. "Estimating distributions of potential outcomes using local instrumental variables with an application to changes in college enrollment and wage inequality," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 149(2), pages 191-208, April.
    15. Charles F. Manski & John V. Pepper, 2009. "More on monotone instrumental variables," Econometrics Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 12(s1), pages 200-216, January.
    16. Joseph P. Romano & Azeem M. Shaikh, 2010. "Inference for the Identified Set in Partially Identified Econometric Models," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 78(1), pages 169-211, January.
    17. Canay, Ivan A., 2010. "EL inference for partially identified models: Large deviations optimality and bootstrap validity," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 156(2), pages 408-425, June.
    18. Libertad González, 2005. "Nonparametric bounds on the returns to language skills," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 20(6), pages 771-795.
    19. Donald W. K. Andrews & Panle Jia Barwick, 2012. "Inference for Parameters Defined by Moment Inequalities: A Recommended Moment Selection Procedure," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 80(6), pages 2805-2826, November.
    20. Galichon, Alfred & Henry, Marc, 2009. "A test of non-identifying restrictions and confidence regions for partially identified parameters," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 152(2), pages 186-196, October.
    21. Philip A. Haile & Elie Tamer, 2003. "Inference with an Incomplete Model of English Auctions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 111(1), pages 1-51, February.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C12 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Hypothesis Testing: General
    • C13 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Estimation: General
    • C14 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Semiparametric and Nonparametric Methods: General

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ifs:cemmap:19/09. 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). General contact details of provider: .

    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 CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc 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 RePEc Author Service 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.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.