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Econometric methods and Reichenbach's principle

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  • Sean Muller

    (SALDRU, School of Economics, University of Cape Town)

Abstract

Reichenbach's 'principle of the common cause' is a foundational assumption of some important recent contributions to quantitative social science methodology but no similar principle appears in econometrics. Reiss (2005) has argued that the principle is necessary for instrumental variables methods in econometrics, and Pearl (2009) builds a framework using it that he proposes as a means of resolving an important methodological dispute among econometricians. We aim to show, through analysis of the main problem instrumental variables methods are used to resolve, that the relationship of the principle to econometric methods is more nuanced than implied by previous work, but nevertheless may make a valuable contribution to the coherence and validity of existing methods.

Suggested Citation

  • Sean Muller, 2012. "Econometric methods and Reichenbach's principle," SALDRU Working Papers 85, Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit, University of Cape Town.
  • Handle: RePEc:ldr:wpaper:85
    as

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    3. Steven D. Levitt, 2002. "Using Electoral Cycles in Police Hiring to Estimate the Effects of Police on Crime: Reply," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(4), pages 1244-1250, September.
    4. David F. Hendry & Hans-Martin Krolzig, 2005. "The Properties of Automatic "GETS" Modelling," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 115(502), pages 32-61, March.
    5. Levitt, Steven D, 1997. "Using Electoral Cycles in Police Hiring to Estimate the Effect of Police on Crime," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(3), pages 270-290, June.
    6. Hoover,Kevin D., 2001. "Causality in Macroeconomics," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521002882, May.
    7. Michael P. Keane, 2010. "A Structural Perspective on the Experimentalist School," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 24(2), pages 47-58, Spring.
    8. James J. Heckman, 2000. "Causal Parameters and Policy Analysis in Economics: A Twentieth Century Retrospective," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(1), pages 45-97.
    9. Michael P. Murray, 2006. "Avoiding Invalid Instruments and Coping with Weak Instruments," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 20(4), pages 111-132, Fall.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Reichenbach's principle; econometrics; causality;

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