IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Another Look at the Identification of Dynamic Discrete Decision Processes

  • Victor Aguirregabiria

    (Boston University)

This paper presents an econometric approach to estimate the behavioral effects of counterfactual policy experiments in the context of dynamic decision models where the current utility function and the distribution of unobservables are nonparametrically specified. Previous studies have shown that the identification of the current utility function in dynamic decision models requires of stronger assumptions than in static decision models. We show in this paper that knowledge of the current utility function (or of a 'normalized' utility function) is not necessary to identify counterfactual choice probabilities in dynamic models. To identify these counterfactuals we need the probability distribution of the unobservables and the difference between the present value of choosing always the same alternative and the present value of deviating one period from this strategy. We show that both functions are identified from the factual choice probabilities under similar conditions as in static decision models. Based on this result we propose a nonparametric procedure to estimate the behavioral effects of counterfactual experiments in dynamic decision models. We apply this method to evaluate the effects of an investment subsidy program in the context of a model of machine replacement.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by EconWPA in its series Econometrics with number 0504006.

in new window

Length: 41 pages
Date of creation: 19 Apr 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpem:0504006
Note: Type of Document - pdf; pages: 41
Contact details of provider: Web page:

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. John Rust & Geoffrey Rothwell, 1995. "Optimal Response to Shift in Regulatory Regime: the Case of the U.S. Nuclear Power Industry," Industrial Organization 9508002, EconWPA.
  2. Kennet, D Mark, 1994. "A Structural Model of Aircraft Engine Maintenance," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 9(4), pages 351-68, Oct.-Dec..
  3. M. Keane & R. Moffitt, . "A structural model of multiple welfare program participation and labor supply," Institute for Research on Poverty Discussion Papers 1080-96, University of Wisconsin Institute for Research on Poverty.
  4. John Rust & Christopher Phelan, 1994. "How Social Security and Medicare Affect Retirement Behavior in a World of Incomplete Markets," Public Economics 9406005, EconWPA, revised 06 Jul 1994.
  5. Heckman, James J. & Navarro, Salvador, 2005. "Dynamic Discrete Choice and Dynamic Treatment Effects," IZA Discussion Papers 1790, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  6. repec:att:wimass:8909 is not listed on IDEAS
  7. Taber, Christopher R., 2000. "Semiparametric identification and heterogeneity in discrete choice dynamic programming models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 96(2), pages 201-229, June.
  8. Michael P. Keane & Kenneth I. Wolpin, 2002. "Estimating Welfare Effects Consistent with Forward-Looking Behavior. Part I: Lessons from a Simulation Exercise," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 37(3), pages 570-599.
  9. Jerome Adda & Russell Cooper, 1997. "Balladurette and Juppette: A Discrete Analysis of Scrapping Subsidies," Papers 0076, Boston University - Industry Studies Programme.
  10. Victor Aguirregabiria & Cesar Alonso-Borrego, 2009. "Labor contracts and flexibility : evidence from a labor market reform in Spain," Economics Working Papers we091811, Universidad Carlos III, Departamento de Economía.
  11. Michael P. Keane & Kenneth I. Wolpin, 2002. "Estimating Welfare Effects Consistent with Forward-Looking Behavior. Part II: Empirical Results," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 37(3), pages 600-622.
  12. Heckman, James J. & Robb, Richard Jr., 1985. "Alternative methods for evaluating the impact of interventions : An overview," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 30(1-2), pages 239-267.
  13. Rust, John & Rothwell, Geoffrey, 1995. "Optimal Response to a Shift in Regulatory Regime: The Case of the US Nuclear Power Industry," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 10(S), pages S75-118, Suppl. De.
  14. Eckstein, Zvi & Zilcha, Itzhak, 1994. "The effects of compulsory schooling on growth, income distribution and welfare," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(3), pages 339-359, July.
  15. Manski, Charles F., 1993. "Dynamic choice in social settings : Learning from the experiences of others," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 58(1-2), pages 121-136, July.
  16. Paola Rota, 2004. "Estimating Labor Demand with Fixed Costs," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 45(1), pages 25-48, 02.
  17. V. Joseph Hotz & Robert A. Miller, 1992. "Conditional Choice Probabilities and the Estimation of Dynamic Models," Working Papers 9202, Harris School of Public Policy Studies, University of Chicago.
  18. Russell Cooper & John Haltiwanger & Laura Power, 1995. "Machine Replacement and the Business Cycle: Lumps and Bumps," Papers 0062, Boston University - Industry Studies Programme.
  19. Manski, C.F., 1990. "The Selection Problem," Working papers 90-12, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
  20. Aguirregabiria, Victor, 2005. "Nonparametric identification of behavioral responses to counterfactual policy interventions in dynamic discrete decision processes," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 87(3), pages 393-398, June.
  21. James J. Heckman & Edward J. Vytlacil, 2000. "Local Instrumental Variables," NBER Technical Working Papers 0252, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  22. Pakes, Ariel S, 1986. "Patents as Options: Some Estimates of the Value of Holding European Patent Stocks," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(4), pages 755-84, July.
  23. Victor Aguirregabiria & Pedro Mira, 2002. "Swapping the Nested Fixed Point Algorithm: A Class of Estimators for Discrete Markov Decision Models," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(4), pages 1519-1543, July.
  24. Thierry Magnac & David Thesmar, 2002. "Identifying Dynamic Discrete Decision Processes," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(2), pages 801-816, March.
  25. Ferrall, Christopher, 1997. "Unemployment Insurance Eligibility and the School-to-Work Transition in Canada and the United States," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 15(2), pages 115-29, April.
  26. Keane, Michael P & Wolpin, Kenneth I, 2001. "The Effect of Parental Transfers and Borrowing Constraints on Educational Attainment," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 42(4), pages 1051-1103, November.
  27. Berkovec, James & Stern, Steven, 1991. "Job Exit Behavior of Older Men," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(1), pages 189-210, January.
  28. Zvi Eckstein & Kenneth I. Wolpin, 1999. "Why Youths Drop Out of High School: The Impact of Preferences, Opportunities, and Abilities," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 67(6), pages 1295-1340, November.
  29. James J. Heckman & Jeffrey A. Smith, 1998. "Evaluating the Welfare State," NBER Working Papers 6542, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  30. Altug, Sumru & Miller, Robert A, 1998. "The Effect of Work Experience on Female Wages and Labour Supply," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 65(1), pages 45-85, January.
  31. Kasahara, Hiroyuki, 2009. "Temporary Increases in Tariffs and Investment: The Chilean Experience," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 27, pages 113-127.
  32. D. Mark Kennet, 1993. "Did Deregulation Affect Aircraft Engine Maintenance? An Empirical Policy Analysis," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 24(4), pages 542-558, Winter.
  33. Manski, Charles F, 1990. "Nonparametric Bounds on Treatment Effects," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(2), pages 319-23, May.
  34. Rust, John, 1986. "When Is It Optimal to Kill Off the Market for Used Durable Goods?," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(1), pages 65-86, January.
  35. Rust, John, 1987. "Optimal Replacement of GMC Bus Engines: An Empirical Model of Harold Zurcher," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(5), pages 999-1033, September.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpem:0504006. 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: (EconWPA)

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 references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link 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 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.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.