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Estimation of Treatment Effects Without an Exclusion Restriction: with an Application to the Analysis of the School Breakfast Program

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  • Daniel L. Millimet
  • Rusty Tchernis

Abstract

While the rise in childhood obesity is clear, the policy ramifications are not. School nutrition programs such as the School Breakfast Program (SBP) have come under much scrutiny. However, the lack of experimental evidence, combined with non-random selection into these programs, makes identification of the causal effects of such programs difficult. In the case of the SBP, this difficulty is exacerbated by the apparent lack of exclusion restrictions. Here, we compare via Monte Carlo study several existing estimators that do not rely on exclusion restrictions for identification. In addition, we propose two new estimation strategies. Simulations illustrate the usefulness of our new estimators, as well as provide applied researchers several practical guidelines when analyzing the causal effects of binary treatments. More importantly, we find consistent evidence of a beneficial causal effect of SBP participation on childhood obesity when applying estimators designed to circumvent selection on unobservables.

Suggested Citation

  • Daniel L. Millimet & Rusty Tchernis, 2009. "Estimation of Treatment Effects Without an Exclusion Restriction: with an Application to the Analysis of the School Breakfast Program," NBER Working Papers 15539, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:15539
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    Cited by:

    1. Chad D. Meyerhoefer & Muzhe Yang, 2011. "The Relationship between Food Assistance and Health: A Review of the Literature and Empirical Strategies for Identifying Program Effects," Applied Economic Perspectives and Policy, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 33(3), pages 304-344.
    2. Chen, Yuanyuan & Wang, Le & Zhang, Min, 2017. "Informal Search, Bad Search? The Effects of Job Search Method on Wages among Rural Migrants in Urban China," IZA Discussion Papers 11058, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    3. Ikeda, Shinya & Hitoshi, Yonekura, 2014. "The Role of Peasant Marketing Institutions in Market Access for Smallholders: A Micro-evidence from Rural Java," 2014 Annual Meeting, July 27-29, 2014, Minneapolis, Minnesota 170246, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    4. Millimet, Daniel L. & Tchernis, Rusty, 2015. "Persistence in body mass index in a recent cohort of US children," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 17(C), pages 157-176.
    5. Berg, Claudia & Emran, M. Shahe & Shilpi, Forhad, 2013. "Microfinance and moneylenders : long-run effects of MFIs on informal credit market in Bangladesh," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6619, The World Bank.
    6. Cazzuffi, Chiara & Pereira-López, Mariana & Soloaga, Isidro, 2017. "Local poverty reduction in Chile and Mexico: The role of food manufacturing growth," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 68(C), pages 160-185.
    7. Witvorapong, Nopphol & Foshanji, Abo Ismael, 2016. "The impact of a conditional cash transfer program on the utilization of non-targeted services: Evidence from Afghanistan," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 152(C), pages 87-95.
    8. Alan Fernihough, 2017. "Human capital and the quantity–quality trade-off during the demographic transition," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 22(1), pages 35-65, March.
    9. Berg, Claudia & Emran, M. Shahe, 2017. "Microfinance and Vulnerability to Seasonal Famine in a Rural Economy: Evidence from Monga in Bangladesh," MPRA Paper 79818, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    10. Daniel L. Millimet & Rusty Tchernis, 2013. "The Origins of Early Childhood Anthropometric Persistence," NBER Working Papers 19554, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Fernihough, Alan, 2017. "Less is More? The child quantity-quality trade-off in early 20th century England and Wales," QUCEH Working Paper Series 2017-07, Queen's University Belfast, Queen's University Centre for Economic History.
    12. Daniel Millimet & Manan Roy, 2015. "Partial identification of the long-run causal effect of food security on child health," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 48(1), pages 83-141, February.
    13. Ian M. McCarthy & Daniel L. Millimet & Manan Roy, 2014. "Bounding Treatment Effects: Stata Command for the Partial Identification of the Average Treatment Effect with Endogenous and Misreported Treatment Assignment," Emory Economics 1407, Department of Economics, Emory University (Atlanta).
    14. Emran, M. Shahe & Sun, Yan, 2014. "Are the Children of Uneducated Farmers Doubly Doomed? Farm, Nonfarm and Intergenerational Educational Mobility in Rural China," MPRA Paper 59230, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    15. repec:bla:indres:v:56:y:2017:i:3:p:459-488 is not listed on IDEAS
    16. Ian K. McDonough & Constant I. Tra, 2017. "The impact of computer-based tutorials on high school math proficiency," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 52(3), pages 1041-1063, May.
    17. Wang, Le, 2012. "Economic transition and college premium in urban China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 23(2), pages 238-252.
    18. Mallick, Debdulal, 2013. "How Effective is a Big Push to the Small? Evidence from a Quasi-Experiment," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 168-182.
    19. Jorge Davalos & Monica Puoma Lambon-Quayefio & Samuel B. Manu, 2017. "An empirical assessment of the union facilitation effect in the Ghanaian labor market Author-Name: Nkechi S. Owoo," Working Papers PMMA 2017-08, PEP-PMMA.
    20. Millimet, Daniel L. & McDonough, Ian K., 2013. "Dynamic Panel Data Models with Irregular Spacing: With Applications to Early Childhood Development," IZA Discussion Papers 7359, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    21. Ransom, Michael R. & Ransom, Tyler, 2017. "Do High School Sports Build or Reveal Character?," IZA Discussion Papers 11110, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    22. Tamer El-Shater & Yigezu A. Yigezu & Amin Mugera & Colin Piggin & Atef Haddad & Yaseen Khalil & Stephen Loss & A. Aw-Hassan, 2016. "Does Zero Tillage Improve the Livelihoods of Smallholder Cropping Farmers?," Journal of Agricultural Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 67(1), pages 154-172, February.
    23. Jiti Gao & Bin Peng & Zhao Ren & Xiaohui Zhang, 2015. "Variable Selection for a Categorical Varying-Coefficient Model with Identifications for Determinants of Body Mass Index," Monash Econometrics and Business Statistics Working Papers 21/15, Monash University, Department of Econometrics and Business Statistics.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C21 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Cross-Sectional Models; Spatial Models; Treatment Effect Models
    • C52 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric Modeling - - - Model Evaluation, Validation, and Selection
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth

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