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A Cautionary Note on Using Industry Affiliation to Predict Income

  • Jörn-Steffen Pischke
  • Hannes Schwandt

Many literatures investigate the causal impact of income on economic outcomes, for example in the context of intergenerational transmission or well-being and health. Some studies have proposed to use employer wage differentials and in particular industry affiliation as an instrument for income. We demonstrate that industry affiliation is correlated with fixed individual characteristics, specifically parents' education and own height, conditional on the covariates typically controlled for in these studies. These results suggest that there is selection into industries based on unobservables. As a result the exclusion restriction in many IV studies of this type is likely violated.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 18384.

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Date of creation: Sep 2012
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:18384
Note: HC LS
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  1. Pischke, Jörn-Steffen, 2011. "Money and Happiness: Evidence from the Industry Wage Structure," CEPR Discussion Papers 8409, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Carmit Segal, 2006. "Motivation, test scores and economic success," Economics Working Papers 1124, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Oct 2008.
  3. Daniel A. Ackerberg & Paul J. Devereux, 2008. "Improved Jive Estimators for Overidentified Linear Models with and without Heteroskedasticity," Working Papers 200817, School of Economics, University College Dublin.
  4. Albrecht Ritschl, 2012. "The German Transfer Problem, 1920-1933: A Sovereign Debt Perspective," CEP Discussion Papers dp1155, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  5. McKinley Blackburn & David Neumark, 1991. "Unobserved Ability, Efficiency Wages, and Interindustry Wage Differentials," NBER Working Papers 3857, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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