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Calibration and IV Estimation of a Wage Outcome Equation in a Dynamic Environment

  • Belzil, Christian

    ()

    (Ecole Polytechnique, Paris)

  • Hansen, Jörgen

    ()

    (Concordia University)

We consider an artificial population of forward looking heterogeneous agents making decisions between schooling, employment, employment with training and household production, according to a behavioral model calibrated to a large set of stylized facts. Some of these agents are subject to policy interventions (a higher education subsidy) that vary according to their generosity. We evaluate the capacity of Instrumental Variable (IV) methods to recover the population Local Average Treatment Effect (LATE) and analyze the economic implications of using a strong instrument within a dynamic economic model. We also examine the performances of two sampling designs that may be used to improve classical linear IV; a Regression-Discontinuity (RD) design and an age-based sampling design targeting early career wages. Finally, we investigate the capacity of IV to estimate alternative "causal" parameters. The failure of classical linear IV is spectacular. IV fails to recover the true LATE, even in the static version of the model. In some cases, the estimates lie outside the support of the population distribution of returns to schooling and are nearly twice as large as the population LATE. The trade-off between the statistical power of the instrument and dynamic self-selection caused by the policy shock implies that access to a "strong instrument" is not necessarily desirable. There appears to be no obvious realistic sampling design that can guarantee IV accuracy. Finally, IV also fails to estimate the reduced-form marginal effect of schooling on wages of those affected by the experiment. Within a dynamic setting, IV is deprived of any “causal” substance.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 3528.

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Length: 61 pages
Date of creation: Jun 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp3528
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  1. Belzil, Christian, 2007. "Testing the Specification of the Mincer Wage Equation," IZA Discussion Papers 2650, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Keane, Michael P., 2010. "Structural vs. atheoretic approaches to econometrics," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 156(1), pages 3-20, May.
  3. Belzil, Christian, 2006. "The Return to Schooling in Structural Dynamic Models: A Survey," IZA Discussion Papers 2370, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. James Heckman, 1997. "Instrumental Variables: A Study of Implicit Behavioral Assumptions Used in Making Program Evaluations," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 32(3), pages 441-462.
  5. Belzil, Christian & Hansen, Jörgen, 2002. "A Structure Analysis of the Correlated Random Coefficient Wage Regression Model," CEPR Discussion Papers 3601, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. 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.
  7. James J. Heckman & Edward Vytlacil, 2005. "Structural Equations, Treatment Effects and Econometric Policy Evaluation," NBER Technical Working Papers 0306, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Chari, V.V. & Kehoe, Patrick J. & McGrattan, Ellen R., 2008. "Are structural VARs with long-run restrictions useful in developing business cycle theory?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(8), pages 1337-1352, November.
  9. Belzil, Christian & Hansen, Jörgen, 2002. "Unobserved Ability and the Return to Schooling," IZA Discussion Papers 508, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  10. Berry, Steven & Levinsohn, James & Pakes, Ariel, 1995. "Automobile Prices in Market Equilibrium," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 63(4), pages 841-90, July.
  11. Magnac & Thesmar, 2002. "Identifying dynamic discrete decision processes," Working Papers 155888, Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique, France.
  12. Michael P. Keane & Kenneth I. Wolpin, 1995. "The career decisions of young men," Working Papers 559, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  13. van den Berg, Gerard J., 2007. "An Economic Analysis of Exclusion Restrictions for Instrumental Variable Estimation," IZA Discussion Papers 2585, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  14. Susumu Imai & Michael P. Keane, 2004. "Intertemporal Labor Supply and Human Capital Accumulation," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 45(2), pages 601-641, 05.
  15. Heckman, James J & Lochner, Lance & Taber, Christopher, 1998. "General-Equilibrium Treatment Effects: A Study of Tuition Policy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(2), pages 381-86, May.
  16. Kenneth I. Wolpin & Petra E. Todd, 2006. "Assessing the Impact of a School Subsidy Program in Mexico: Using a Social Experiment to Validate a Dynamic Behavioral Model of Child Schooling and Fertility," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(5), pages 1384-1417, December.
  17. Wilbert van der Klaauw, 2002. "Estimating the Effect of Financial Aid Offers on College Enrollment: A Regression-Discontinuity Approach," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 43(4), pages 1249-1287, November.
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