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From Local to Global: External Validity in a Fertility Natural Experiment

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Listed:
  • Rajeev Dehejia
  • Cristian Pop-Eleches
  • Cyrus Samii

Abstract

We study issues related to external validity for treatment effects using over 100 replications of the Angrist and Evans (1998) natural experiment on the effects of sibling sex composition on fertility and labor supply. The replications are based on census data from around the world going back to 1960. We decompose sources of error in predicting treatment effects in external contexts in terms of macro and micro sources of variation. In our empirical setting, we find that macro covariates dominate over micro covariates for reducing errors in predicting treatments, an issue that past studies of external validity have been unable to evaluate. We develop methods for two applications to evidence-based decision-making, including determining where to locate an experiment and whether policy-makers should commission new experiments or rely on an existing evidence base for making a policy decision.

Suggested Citation

  • Rajeev Dehejia & Cristian Pop-Eleches & Cyrus Samii, 2015. "From Local to Global: External Validity in a Fertility Natural Experiment," NBER Working Papers 21459, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:21459
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Lucia Corno & Nicole Hildebrandt & Alessandra Voena, 2020. "Age of Marriage, Weather Shocks, and the Direction of Marriage Payments," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 88(3), pages 879-915, May.
    2. Rajeev Dehejia & Cristian Pop-Eleches & Cyrus Samii, 2015. "From Local to Global: External Validity in a Fertility Natural Experiment," NBER Working Papers 21459, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Cristina Corduneanu-Huci & Michael T. Dorsch & Paul Maarek, 2017. "Learning to constrain: Political competition and randomized controlled trials in development," THEMA Working Papers 2017-24, THEMA (THéorie Economique, Modélisation et Applications), Université de Cergy-Pontoise.
    4. James Bisbee & Rajeev Dehejia & Cristian Pop-Eleches & Cyrus Samii, 2017. "Local Instruments, Global Extrapolation: External Validity of the Labor Supply-Fertility Local Average Treatment Effect," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 35(S1), pages 99-147.
    5. Iva Trako, 2018. "Fertility and Parental Labor-Force Participation: New Evidence from a Developing Country in the Balkans," Working Papers halshs-01828471, HAL.
    6. Andor, Mark A. & Fels, Katja M. & Renz, Jan & Rzepka, Sylvi, 2018. "Do planning prompts increase educational success? Evidence from randomized controlled trials in MOOCs," Ruhr Economic Papers 790, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-University Bochum, TU Dortmund University, University of Duisburg-Essen.
    7. Andor, Mark A. & Gerster, Andreas & Peters, Jörg & Schmidt, Christoph M., 2020. "Social Norms and Energy Conservation Beyond the US," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 103(C).
    8. Meager, Rachael, 2019. "Understanding the average impact of microcredit expansions: a Bayesian hierarchical analysis of seven randomized experiments," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 88190, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    9. Rosenzweig, Mark & Udry, Christopher, 2016. "External Validity in a Stochastic World," Center Discussion Papers 242440, Yale University, Economic Growth Center.
    10. Iva Trako, 2018. "Fertility and Parental Labor-Force Participation: New Evidence from a Developing Country in the Balkans," PSE Working Papers halshs-01828471, HAL.
    11. Isaiah Andrews & Emily Oster, 2017. "Weighting for External Validity," NBER Working Papers 23826, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Andrews, Isaiah & Oster, Emily, 2019. "A simple approximation for evaluating external validity bias," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 178(C), pages 58-62.
    13. Paul Hunermund & Elias Bareinboim, 2019. "Causal Inference and Data-Fusion in Econometrics," Papers 1912.09104, arXiv.org, revised Dec 2019.
    14. Guber, Raphael, 2018. "Instrument Validity Tests with Causal Trees: With an Application to the Same-sex Instrument," MEA discussion paper series 201805, Munich Center for the Economics of Aging (MEA) at the Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy.
    15. Antoine Deeb & Cl'ement de Chaisemartin, 2019. "Clustering and External Validity in Randomized Controlled Trials," Papers 1912.01052, arXiv.org, revised Jul 2020.
    16. Meager, Rachael & Sturdy, Jennifer, 2017. "Aggregating Distributional Treatment Effects: A Bayesian Hierarchical Analysis of the Microcredit Literature," MetaArXiv 7tkvm, Center for Open Science.
    17. Amy Ellen Schwartz & Douglas Almond & Ajin Lee, 2016. "Retention Heterogeneity in New York City Schools," Center for Policy Research Working Papers 198, Center for Policy Research, Maxwell School, Syracuse University.
    18. Fougère, Denis & Jacquemet, Nicolas, 2020. "Policy Evaluation Using Causal Inference Methods," IZA Discussion Papers 12922, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    19. Damian Clarke, 2018. "Children And Their Parents: A Review Of Fertility And Causality," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 32(2), pages 518-540, April.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C18 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Methodolical Issues: General
    • C31 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Cross-Sectional Models; Spatial Models; Treatment Effect Models; Quantile Regressions; Social Interaction Models
    • C9 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments
    • F63 - International Economics - - Economic Impacts of Globalization - - - Economic Development
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth

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