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Journal of Economic Literature: Vol. 48 No. 2 (June 2010)

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Better LATE Than Nothing: Some Comments on Deaton (2009) and Heckman and Urzua (2009)

Article Citation

Imbens, Guido W. 2010. "Better LATE Than Nothing: Some Comments on Deaton (2009) and Heckman and Urzua (2009)." Journal of Economic Literature, 48(2): 399-423.

DOI: 10.1257/jel.48.2.399

Abstract

Two recent papers, Deaton (2009) and Heckman and Urzua (2009), argue against what they see as an excessive and inappropriate use of experimental and quasi-experimental methods in empirical work in economics in the last decade. They specifically question the increased use of instrumental variables and natural experiments in labor economics and of randomized experiments in development economics. In these comments, I will make the case that this move toward shoring up the internal validity of estimates, and toward clarifying the description of the population these estimates are relevant for, has been important and beneficial in increasing the credibility of empirical work in economics. I also address some other concerns raised by the Deaton and Heckman-Urzua papers. (JEL C21, C31)

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Authors

Imbens, Guido W. (Harvard U)

JEL Classifications

C21: Single Equation Models; Single Variables: Cross-Sectional Models; Spatial Models; Treatment Effect Models; Quantile Regressions
C31: Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models: Cross-Sectional Models; Spatial Models; Treatment Effect Models; Quantile Regressions


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