Researcher Incentives and Empirical Methods
Economists are quick to assume opportunistic behavior in almost every walk of life other than our own. Our empirical methods are based on assumptions of human behavior that would not pass muster in any of our models. The solution to this problem is not to expect a mass renunciation of data mining, selective data cleaning or opportunistic methodology selection, but rather to follow Leamer's lead in designing and using techniques that anticipate the behavior of optimizing researchers. In this essay, I make ten points about a more economic approach to empirical methods and suggest paths for methodological progress.
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- Leamer, Edward E, 1983.
"Let's Take the Con Out of Econometrics,"
American Economic Review,
American Economic Association, vol. 73(1), pages 31-43, March.
- Denton, Frank T, 1985. "Data Mining as an Industry," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 67(1), pages 124-127, February.
- Lovell, Michael C, 1983. "Data Mining," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 65(1), pages 1-12, February.
- Levine, Ross & Renelt, David, 1992.
"A Sensitivity Analysis of Cross-Country Growth Regressions,"
American Economic Review,
American Economic Association, vol. 82(4), pages 942-963, September.
- Levine, Ross & Renelt, David, 1991. "A sensitivity analysis of cross-country growth regressions," Policy Research Working Paper Series 609, The World Bank.
- Xavier Sala-i-Martin, 1997.
"I just ran four million regressions,"
Economics Working Papers
201, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
- Douglas Staiger & James H. Stock, 1994.
"Instrumental Variables Regression with Weak Instruments,"
NBER Technical Working Papers
0151, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Douglas Staiger & James H. Stock, 1997. "Instrumental Variables Regression with Weak Instruments," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 65(3), pages 557-586, May.
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