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American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics: Vol. 5 No. 2 (April 2013)

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Blunt Instruments: Avoiding Common Pitfalls in Identifying the Causes of Economic Growth

Article Citation

Bazzi, Samuel, and Michael A. Clemens. 2013. "Blunt Instruments: Avoiding Common Pitfalls in Identifying the Causes of Economic Growth." American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, 5(2): 152-86.

DOI: 10.1257/mac.5.2.152

Abstract

Concern has intensified in recent years that many instrumental variables used in widely-cited growth regressions may be invalid, weak, or both. Attempts to remedy this general problem remain inadequate. We show how a range of published studies can offer more evidence that their results are not spurious. Key steps include: grounding growth regressions in more generalized theoretical models, deployment of new methods for estimating sensitivity to violations of exclusion restrictions, opening the "black box" of GMM with supportive evidence of instrument strength, and utilization of weak-instrument robust tests and estimators. (JEL C52, E23, F35, O41, O47)

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Authors

Bazzi, Samuel (U CA, San Diego)
Clemens, Michael A. (Center for Global Development, Washington, DC)

JEL Classifications

C52: Model Evaluation, Validation, and Selection
E23: Macroeconomics: Production
F35: Foreign Aid
O41: One, Two, and Multisector Growth Models
O47: Measurement of Economic Growth; Aggregate Productivity; Cross-Country Output Convergence

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American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics


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