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Principal Stratification in sample selection problems with non normal error terms

The aim of the paper is to relax distributional assumptions on the error terms, often imposed in parametric sample selection models to estimate causal effects, when plausible exclusion restrictions are not available. Within the principal stratification framework, we approximate the true distribution of the error terms with a mixture of Gaussian. We propose an EM type algorithm for ML estimation. In a simulation study we show that our estimator has lower MSE than the ML and two-step Heckman estimators with any non normal distribution considered for the error terms. Finally we provide an application to the Job Corps training program.

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Paper provided by Tor Vergata University, CEIS in its series CEIS Research Paper with number 194.

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Length: 31 pages
Date of creation: 02 May 2011
Date of revision: 02 May 2011
Handle: RePEc:rtv:ceisrp:194
Contact details of provider: Postal: CEIS - Centre for Economic and International Studies - Faculty of Economics - University of Rome "Tor Vergata" - Via Columbia, 2 00133 Roma
Phone: +390672595601
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Web page: http://www.ceistorvergata.it
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Order Information: Postal: CEIS - Centre for Economic and International Studies - Faculty of Economics - University of Rome "Tor Vergata" - Via Columbia, 2 00133 Roma
Web: http://www.ceistorvergata.it Email:


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  1. Newey, Whitney K & Powell, James L & Walker, James R, 1990. "Semiparametric Estimation of Selection Models: Some Empirical Results," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(2), pages 324-28, May.
  2. Michael Lechner & Blaise Melly, 2010. "Partial Idendification of Wage Effects of Training Programs," Working Papers 2010-8, Brown University, Department of Economics.
  3. Bartolucci, F. & Scaccia, L., 2005. "The use of mixtures for dealing with non-normal regression errors," Computational Statistics & Data Analysis, Elsevier, vol. 48(4), pages 821-834, April.
  4. Mealli, Fabrizia & Pacini, Barbara, 2008. "Comparing principal stratification and selection models in parametric causal inference with nonignorable missingness," Computational Statistics & Data Analysis, Elsevier, vol. 53(2), pages 507-516, December.
  5. Ahn, Hyungtaik & Powell, James L., 1993. "Semiparametric estimation of censored selection models with a nonparametric selection mechanism," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 58(1-2), pages 3-29, July.
  6. Zhang, Junni L. & Rubin, Donald B. & Mealli, Fabrizia, 2009. "Likelihood-Based Analysis of Causal Effects of Job-Training Programs Using Principal Stratification," Journal of the American Statistical Association, American Statistical Association, vol. 104(485), pages 166-176.
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