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Sparse models and methods for optimal instruments with an application to eminent domain

Author

Listed:
  • Alexandre Belloni

    (Institute for Fiscal Studies)

  • D. Chen

    (Institute for Fiscal Studies)

  • Victor Chernozhukov

    () (Institute for Fiscal Studies and MIT)

  • Christian Hansen

    (Institute for Fiscal Studies and Chicago GSB)

Abstract

We develop results for the use of LASSO and Post-LASSO methods to form first-stage predictions and estimate optimal instruments in linear instrumental variables (IV) models with many instruments, p, that apply even when p is much larger than the sample size, n. We rigorously develop asymptotic distribution and inference theory for the resulting IV estimators and provide conditions under which these estimators are asymptotically oracle-efficient. In simulation experiments, the LASSO-based IV estimator with a data-driven penalty performs well compared to recently advocated many-instrument-robust procedures. In an empirical example dealing with the effect of judicial eminent domain decisions on economic outcomes, the LASSO-based IV estimator substantially reduces estimated standard errors allowing one to draw much more precise conclusions about the economic effects of these decisions. Optimal instruments are conditional expectations; and in developing the IV results, we also establish a series of new results for LASSO and Post-LASSO estimators of non-parametric conditional expectation functions which are of independent theoretical and practical interest. Specifically, we develop the asymptotic theory for these estimators that allows for non-Gaussian, heteroscedastic disturbances, which is important for econometric applications. By innovatively using moderate deviation theory for self-normalized sums, we provide convergence rates for these estimators that are as sharp as in the homoscedastic Gaussian case under the weak condition that log p = o(n 1/3). Moreover, as a practical innovation, we provide a fully data-driven method for choosing the user-specified penalty that must be provided in obtaining LASSO and Post-LASSO estimates and establish its asymptotic validity under non-Gaussian, heteroscedastic disturbances.

Suggested Citation

  • Alexandre Belloni & D. Chen & Victor Chernozhukov & Christian Hansen, 2010. "Sparse models and methods for optimal instruments with an application to eminent domain," CeMMAP working papers CWP31/10, Centre for Microdata Methods and Practice, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  • Handle: RePEc:ifs:cemmap:31/10
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Carrasco, Marine, 2012. "A regularization approach to the many instruments problem," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 170(2), pages 383-398.
    2. Marcelo J. Moreira, 2003. "A Conditional Likelihood Ratio Test for Structural Models," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(4), pages 1027-1048, July.
    3. Jerry A. Hausman & Whitney K. Newey & Tiemen Woutersen & John C. Chao & Norman R. Swanson, 2012. "Instrumental variable estimation with heteroskedasticity and many instruments," Quantitative Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 3(2), pages 211-255, July.
    4. Victor DeMiguel & Lorenzo Garlappi & Francisco J. Nogales & Raman Uppal, 2009. "A Generalized Approach to Portfolio Optimization: Improving Performance by Constraining Portfolio Norms," Management Science, INFORMS, pages 798-812.
    5. A. Belloni & D. Chen & V. Chernozhukov & C. Hansen, 2012. "Sparse Models and Methods for Optimal Instruments With an Application to Eminent Domain," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 80(6), pages 2369-2429, November.
    6. John C. Chao & Norman R. Swanson, 2005. "Consistent Estimation with a Large Number of Weak Instruments," Econometrica, Econometric Society, pages 1673-1692.
    7. Jinyong Hahn & Jerry Hausman & Guido Kuersteiner, 2004. "Estimation with weak instruments: Accuracy of higher-order bias and MSE approximations," Econometrics Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 7(1), pages 272-306, June.
    8. Chamberlain, Gary, 1987. "Asymptotic efficiency in estimation with conditional moment restrictions," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 34(3), pages 305-334, March.
    9. Okui, Ryo, 2011. "Instrumental variable estimation in the presence of many moment conditions," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 165(1), pages 70-86.
    10. Frank Kleibergen, 2002. "Pivotal Statistics for Testing Structural Parameters in Instrumental Variables Regression," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(5), pages 1781-1803, September.
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