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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 Note: LS
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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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