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Journal of Economic Perspectives: Vol. 24 No. 2 (Spring 2010)


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The Other Transformation in Econometric Practice: Robust Tools for Inference

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Stock, James H. 2010. "The Other Transformation in Econometric Practice: Robust Tools for Inference." Journal of Economic Perspectives, 24(2): 83-94.

DOI: 10.1257/jep.24.2.83


Angrist and Pischke highlight one aspect of the research that has positively transformed econometric practice and teaching. They emphasize the rise of experiments and quasi-experiments as credible sources of identification in microeconometric studies, which they usefully term "design-based research." But in so doing, they miss an important part of the story: a second research strand aimed at developing tools for inference that are robust to subsidiary modeling assumptions. My first aim in these remarks therefore is to highlight some key developments in this area. I then turn to Angrist and Pischke's call for adopting experiments and quasi-experiments in macroeconometrics; while sympathetic, I suspect the scope for such studies is limited. I conclude with some observations on the current debate about whether experimental methods have gone too far in abandoning economic theory.

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Stock, James H. (Harvard U)

JEL Classifications

B41: Economic Methodology
C01: Econometrics


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