IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/nbr/nberwo/19054.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Unobservable Selection and Coefficient Stability: Theory and Validation

Author

Listed:
  • Emily Oster

Abstract

A common heuristic for evaluating robustness of results to omitted variable bias is to look at coefficient movements after inclusion of controls. This heuristic is informative only if selection on observables is proportional to selection on unobservables. I formalize this link, drawing on theory in Altonji, Elder and Taber (2005) and show how, with this assumption, coefficient movements, along with movements in R-squared values, can be used to calculate omitted variable bias. I discuss empirical implementation and describe a formal bounding argument to replace the coefficient movement heuristic. I show two validation exercises suggesting that this bounding argument would perform well empirically. I discuss application of this procedure to a large set of publications in economics, and use evidence from randomized studies to draw guidelines as to appropriate bounding values.

Suggested Citation

  • Emily Oster, 2013. "Unobservable Selection and Coefficient Stability: Theory and Validation," NBER Working Papers 19054, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:19054 Note: HC LS
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w19054.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. LaLonde, Robert J, 1986. "Evaluating the Econometric Evaluations of Training Programs with Experimental Data," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(4), pages 604-620, September.
    2. Douglas Almond & Bhashkar Mazumder, 2011. "Health Capital and the Prenatal Environment: The Effect of Ramadan Observance during Pregnancy," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(4), pages 56-85, October.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C01 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - General - - - Econometrics
    • I1 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health
    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:19054. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/nberrus.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.