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Natural and Quasi- Experiments in Economics

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  • Bruce D. Meyer

Abstract

Using research designs patterned after randomized experiments, many recent economic studies examine outcome measures for treatment groups and comparison groups that are not randomly assigned. By using variation in explanatory variables generated by changes in state laws, government draft mechanisms, or other means, these studies obtain variation that is readily examined and is plausibly exogenous. This paper describes the advantages of these studies and suggests how they can be improved. It also provides aids in judging the validity of inferences they draw. Design complications such as multiple treatment and comparison groups and multiple pre- or post-intervention observations are advocated.

Suggested Citation

  • Bruce D. Meyer, 1994. "Natural and Quasi- Experiments in Economics," NBER Technical Working Papers 0170, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberte:0170
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    10. Manski, C.F., 1990. "The Selection Problem," Working papers 90-12, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
    11. 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 313-336, June.
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    13. Janet Currie & Jonathan Gruber, 1994. "Saving Babies: The Efficacy and Cost of Recent Expansions of Medicaid Eligibility for Pregnant Women," NBER Working Papers 4644, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. David Card, 1992. "Using Regional Variation in Wages to Measure the Effects of the Federal Minimum Wage," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 46(1), pages 22-37, October.
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    16. C. F. Manski, "undated". "Learning about social programs from experiments with random assignment of treatments," Institute for Research on Poverty Discussion Papers 1061-95, University of Wisconsin Institute for Research on Poverty.
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    25. Angrist, Joshua D, 1990. "Lifetime Earnings and the Vietnam Era Draft Lottery: Evidence from Social Security Administrative Records: Errata," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(5), pages 1284-1286, December.
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    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

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    JEL classification:

    • C1 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General
    • C9 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments

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