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Evaluating Marginal Policy Changes and the Average Effect of Treatment for Individuals at the Margin

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Listed:
  • Pedro Carneiro
  • James J. Heckman
  • Edward J. Vytlacil

Abstract

This paper develops methods for evaluating marginal policy changes. We characterize how the effects of marginal policy changes depend on the direction of the policy change, and show that marginal policy effects are fundamentally easier to identify and to estimate than conventional treatment parameters. We develop the connection between marginal policy effects and the average effect of treatment for persons on the margin of indifference between participation in treatment and nonparticipation, and use this connection to analyze both parameters. We apply our analysis to estimate the effect of marginal changes in tuition on the return to going to college.

Suggested Citation

  • Pedro Carneiro & James J. Heckman & Edward J. Vytlacil, 2009. "Evaluating Marginal Policy Changes and the Average Effect of Treatment for Individuals at the Margin," NBER Working Papers 15211, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:15211
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Hansen, Karsten T. & Heckman, James J. & Mullen, K.J.Kathleen J., 2004. "The effect of schooling and ability on achievement test scores," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 121(1-2), pages 39-98.
    2. James J. Heckman & Edward Vytlacil, 2005. "Structural Equations, Treatment Effects, and Econometric Policy Evaluation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 73(3), pages 669-738, May.
    3. Kling, Jeffrey R, 2001. "Interpreting Instrumental Variables Estimates of the Returns to Schooling," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 19(3), pages 358-364, July.
    4. Imbens, Guido W & Angrist, Joshua D, 1994. "Identification and Estimation of Local Average Treatment Effects," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(2), pages 467-475, March.
    5. Ai, Chunrong & Chen, Xiaohong, 2007. "Estimation of possibly misspecified semiparametric conditional moment restriction models with different conditioning variables," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 141(1), pages 5-43, November.
    6. Newey, Whitney K & Stoker, Thomas M, 1993. "Efficiency of Weighted Average Derivative Estimators and Index Models," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 61(5), pages 1199-1223, September.
    7. Joshua D. Angrist & Kathryn Graddy & Guido W. Imbens, 2000. "The Interpretation of Instrumental Variables Estimators in Simultaneous Equations Models with an Application to the Demand for Fish," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 67(3), pages 499-527.
    8. Card, David, 2001. "Estimating the Return to Schooling: Progress on Some Persistent Econometric Problems," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(5), pages 1127-1160, September.
    9. James Heckman, 1997. "Instrumental Variables: A Study of Implicit Behavioral Assumptions Used in Making Program Evaluations," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 32(3), pages 441-462.
    10. Edward Vytlacil, 2002. "Independence, Monotonicity, and Latent Index Models: An Equivalence Result," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(1), pages 331-341, January.
    11. Ichimura, H., 1991. "Semiparametric Least Squares (sls) and Weighted SLS Estimation of Single- Index Models," Papers 264, Minnesota - Center for Economic Research.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C14 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Semiparametric and Nonparametric Methods: General

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