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Mostly harmless simulations? On the internal validity of empirical Monte Carlo studies

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Listed:
  • Arun Advani

    (Institute for Fiscal Studies)

  • Tymon Sloczynski

    (Institute for Fiscal Studies)

Abstract

In this paper we evaluate the premise from the recent literature on Monte Carlo studies that an empirically motivated simulation exercise is informative about the actual ranking of various estimators when applied to a particular problem. We consider two alternative designs and provide an empirical test for both of them. We conclude that a necessary condition for the simulations to be informative about the true ranking is that the treatment effect in simulations must be equal to the (unknown) true effect. This severely limits the usefulness of such procedures, since were the effect known, the procedure would not be necessary.

Suggested Citation

  • Arun Advani & Tymon Sloczynski, 2013. "Mostly harmless simulations? On the internal validity of empirical Monte Carlo studies," CeMMAP working papers CWP64/13, Centre for Microdata Methods and Practice, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  • Handle: RePEc:ifs:cemmap:64/13
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Lechner, Michael, 2018. "Modified Causal Forests for Estimating Heterogeneous Causal Effects," IZA Discussion Papers 12040, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    2. Martin Huber & Michael Lechner & Giovanni Mellace, 2016. "The Finite Sample Performance of Estimators for Mediation Analysis Under Sequential Conditional Independence," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 34(1), pages 139-160, January.
    3. Tymon Słoczyński, 2015. "The Oaxaca–Blinder Unexplained Component as a Treatment Effects Estimator," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 77(4), pages 588-604, August.
    4. Pei‐An Liao & Hung‐Hao Chang & Yi‐Ju Su, 2020. "Cash transfer program and child underweight—Empirical evidence from a causal mediation analysis," Agricultural Economics, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 51(2), pages 291-303, March.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C15 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Statistical Simulation Methods: General
    • C21 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Cross-Sectional Models; Spatial Models; Treatment Effect Models
    • C25 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Discrete Regression and Qualitative Choice Models; Discrete Regressors; Proportions; Probabilities
    • C52 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric Modeling - - - Model Evaluation, Validation, and Selection

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