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

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

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.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w15211.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 15211.

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Date of creation: Aug 2009
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Publication status: published as Pedro Carneiro & James J. Heckman & Edward Vytlacil, 2010. "Evaluating Marginal Policy Changes and the Average Effect of Treatment for Individuals at the Margin," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 78(1), pages 377-394, 01.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:15211
Note: TWP
Contact details of provider: Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
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Web page: http://www.nber.org
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  1. Angrist, Joshua D & Graddy, Kathryn & Imbens, Guido W, 2000. "The Interpretation of Instrumental Variables Estimators in Simultaneous Equations Models with an Application to the Demand for Fish," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 67(3), pages 499-527, July.
  2. Henry S. Farber & Jeffrey R. Kling & Alan Krueger, 1999. "Interpreting Instrumental Variables Estimates of the Returns to Schooling," Working Papers 794, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  3. Newey, Whitney K & Stoker, Thomas M, 1993. "Efficiency of Weighted Average Derivative Estimators and Index Models," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 61(5), pages 1199-223, September.
  4. Ichimura, H., 1991. "Semiparametric Least Squares (sls) and Weighted SLS Estimation of Single- Index Models," Papers 264, Minnesota - Center for Economic Research.
  5. James J. Heckman & Edward Vytlacil, 2005. "Structural Equations, Treatment Effects and Econometric Policy Evaluation," NBER Technical Working Papers 0306, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Card, David, 2001. "Estimating the Return to Schooling: Progress on Some Persistent Econometric Problems," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(5), pages 1127-60, September.
  7. Imbens, Guido W & Angrist, Joshua D, 1994. "Identification and Estimation of Local Average Treatment Effects," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(2), pages 467-75, March.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. Edward Vytlacil, 2002. "Independence, Monotonicity, and Latent Index Models: An Equivalence Result," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(1), pages 331-341, January.
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