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Identification and Estimation of Local Average Treatment Effects

  • Joshua D. Angrist
  • Guido W. Imbens

We investigate conditions sufficient for identification of average treatment effects using instrumental variables. First we show that the existence of valid instruments is not sufficient to identify any meaningful average treatment effect. We then establish that the combination of an instrument and a condition on the relation between the instrument and the participation status is sufficient for identification of a local average treatment effect for those who can be induced to change their participation status by changing the value of the instrument. Finally we derive the probability limit of the standard IV estimator under these conditions. It is seen to be a weighted average of local average treatment effects.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/t0118.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Technical Working Papers with number 0118.

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Date of creation: Feb 1995
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as Econometrica, March 1994.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberte:0118
Note: LS
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  1. Gronau, Reuben, 1974. "Wage Comparisons-A Selectivity Bias," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(6), pages 1119-43, Nov.-Dec..
  2. Heckman, James J, 1979. "Sample Selection Bias as a Specification Error," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(1), pages 153-61, January.
  3. Chamberlain, Gary, 1986. "Asymptotic efficiency in semi-parametric models with censoring," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 32(2), pages 189-218, July.
  4. Angrist, Joshua D, 1990. "Lifetime Earnings and the Vietnam Era Draft Lottery: Evidence from Social Security Administrative Records," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(3), pages 313-36, June.
  5. K. Newey, Whitney, 1985. "Generalized method of moments specification testing," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 29(3), pages 229-256, September.
  6. LaLonde, Robert J, 1986. "Evaluating the Econometric Evaluations of Training Programs with Experimental Data," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(4), pages 604-20, September.
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