若き経済学者のアメリカEconomics ≫ Economics in The Economist 4

Economics in The Economist 4

4.Instrumental Variables
(1)8/13記事
"Cause and defect" という記事タイトルと、"IV league" という見出しに思わず笑ってしまう。センスいいなぁ。

・In the years since, economists have focused much more explicitly on improving the analysis of cause and effect, giving rise to what Guido Imbens of Harvard University calls “the causal literature”. The techniques at the heart of this literature―in particular, the use of so-called “instrumental variables”―have yielded insights into everything from the link between abortion and crime to the economic return from education. But these methods are themselves now coming under attack.

・Two recent papers―one by James Heckman of Chicago University and Sergio Urzua of Northwestern University, and another by Angus Deaton of Princeton―are sharply critical of this approach. The authors argue that the causal effects that instrumental strategies identify are uninteresting because such techniques often give answers to narrow questions.

・This is too harsh. It is no doubt possible to use instrumental variables to estimate effects on uninteresting subgroups of the population.

・Proponents of instrumental variables also argue that accurate answers to narrower questions are more useful than unreliable answers to wider questions.

・A more legitimate fear is that important questions for which no good instrumental variables can be found are getting short shrift because of economists’ obsession with solving statistical problems. Mr Deaton says that instrumental variables encourage economists to avoid “thinking about how and why things work”. Striking a balance between accuracy of result and importance of issue is tricky. If economists end up going too far in emphasising accuracy, they may succeed in taking “the con out of econometrics”, as Mr Leamer urged them to―only to leave more pressing questions on the shelf.


(2)上記で紹介されている論文へのリンク集
Sources: Cause and defect


(3)Steven Levitt's Freaconomics Blog on "Imbens Fires Back at Deaton"

2009/09/06(日) | Economics | トラックバック(0) | コメント(0)

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