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Journal of Economic Literature: Vol. 38 No. 4 (December 2000)

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Natural "Natural Experiments" in Economics

Article Citation

Rosenzweig, Mark R., and Kenneth I. Wolpin. 2000. "Natural "Natural Experiments" in Economics." Journal of Economic Literature, 38(4): 827-874.

DOI: 10.1257/jel.38.4.827

Abstract

The recent literature exploiting natural events as "natural experiment" instruments is reviewed to assess to what extent it has advanced empirical knowledge. A weakness of the studies that adopt this approach is that the necessary set of behavioral, market, and technological assumptions made by the authors in justifying their interpretations of the estimates is often absent. The methodology and findings from twenty studies are summarized and simple economic models are used to elucidate the implicit assumptions made by the authors and to demonstrate the sensitivity of the interpretations of the findings to the relaxation of some of these assumptions.

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Authors

Rosenzweig, Mark R. (U PA)
Wolpin, Kenneth I. (U PA)

JEL Classifications

C51: Model Construction and Estimation
J24: Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
C90: Design of Experiments: General
J22: Time Allocation and Labor Supply
D12: Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis


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