Heterogeneity and Microeconometrics Modelling
Presented at the 2005 Econometric Society World Congress Plenary Session on "Modelling Heterogeneity". We survey the treatment of heterogeneity in applied microeconometrics analyses. There are three themes. First, there is usually much more heterogeneity than empirical researchers allow for. Second, the inappropriate treatment of heterogeneity can lead to serious error when estimating outcomes of interest. Finally, once we move away from the traditional linear model with a single 'fixed effect', it is very difficult to account for heterogeneity and fit the data and maintain coherence with theory structures. The latter task is one for economists: "heterogeneity is too important to be left to the statisticians". The paper concludes with a report of our own research on dynamic discrete choice models that allow for maximal heterogeneity.
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