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The Plan for Day Two. Practice and pitfalls (1) Natural experiments as interesting sources of instrumental variables (2) The consequences of “weak” instruments for causal inference (3) Some useful IV diagnostics (4) Walk through an empirical application

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The Plan for Day Two

- Practice and pitfalls
(1) Natural experiments as interesting sources of instrumental variables

(2) The consequences of “weak” instruments for causal inference

(3) Some useful IV diagnostics

(4) Walk through an empirical application

- Goal = provide concrete examples of instrumental variables methods

Instrumental Variables and Natural Experiments

- What is a natural experiment?
- “situations where the forces of nature or government policy have conspired to produce an environment somewhat akin to a randomized experiment”
- Angrist and Krueger (2001, p. 73)

- “situations where the forces of nature or government policy have conspired to produce an environment somewhat akin to a randomized experiment”
- Natural experiments can provide a useful source of exogenous variation in problematic regressors
- But they require detailed institutional knowledge

Instrumental Variables and Natural Experiments

- Some natural experiments in economics
- Existing policy differences, or changes that affect some jurisdictions (or groups) but not others
- Minimum wage rate
- Excise taxes on consumer goods
- Unemployment insurance, workers’ compensation

- Unexpected “shocks” to the local economy
- Coal prices and the Middle East oil embargo (1973)
- Agricultural production and adverse weather events

- Existing policy differences, or changes that affect some jurisdictions (or groups) but not others

Instrumental Variables and Natural Experiments

- Some potential pitfalls
- Not all policy differences/changes are exogenous
- Political factors and past realizations of the response variable can affect existing policies or policy changes

- Generalizability of causal effect estimates
- Results may not generalize beyond the units under study

- Heterogeneity in causal effects
- Results may be sensitive to the natural experiment chosen in a specific study (L.A.T.E.)

- Not all policy differences/changes are exogenous

Instrumental Variables and Natural Experiments

- Some natural experiments of criminological interest
- Levitt (1996) = prison population → crime rate
- Levitt (1997) = police hiring → crime rate
- Apel et al. (2008) = youth employment → delinquency

- Some natural experiments not of criminological interest, but interesting nonetheless
- Angrist and Evans (1998) = fertility → labor supply

Levitt (1996), Q.J.E.

- Large decline in crime did not accompany the large increase in prison population (1971-1993)
- Prima fascia evidence of prison ineffectiveness

- But...increased prison use could mask what would have been a greater increase in crime
- Underlying determinants of crime probably worsened

- And...prison population probably responded to crime increase

Levitt (1996), Q.J.E.

- Prison overcrowding legislation
- Population caps, prohibition of “double celling”
- In 12 states, the entire prison system came under court control
- AL, AK, AR, DE, FL, MS, NM, OK, RI, SC, TN, TX

- Relationship between legislation and prisons
- Prior to filing, prison growth outpaced national average by 2.3 percent
- After filing, prison growth was 5.1 percent slower

–

Prisons

Under Court

Control

Prison

Population

Growth

Crime Rate

Growth

Levitt (1996), Q.J.E.- Logic of the instrumental variable in this study
- Court rulings concerning prison capacity cannot be correlated with the unobserved determinants of crime rate changes
- Or...the only reason court rulings are related to crime is because they limit prison population growth

Levitt (1996), Q.J.E.

- 2SLS model yields a “prison effect” on crime at least four times as high as the LS model
- Violent crime rate
- bLS = –.099 (s.e. = .033)
- bIV = –.424 (s.e. = .201)

- Property crime rate
- bLS = –.071 (s.e. = .019)
- bIV = –.321 (s.e. = .138)

- A 10% increase in prison size produces a 4.2% decrease in violent crime and a 3.2% decrease in property crime

- Violent crime rate

Levitt (1996), Q.J.E.

- L.A.T.E. = effect of prison growth on crime among states under court order to slow growth
- Some relevant observations
- Generalizability = predominately Southern states
- Large prison populations, unusually fast prison growth

- T.E. heterogeneity = (slowed) prison growth due to court-ordered prison reductions may be differentially related to crime rates
- Other IV’s could lead to different causal effect estimates

- Generalizability = predominately Southern states

Levitt (1997), A.E.R.

- Breaking the simultaneity in the police-crime connection
- When more police are hired, crime should decline
- But...more police may be hired during crime waves

- Election cycles and police hiring
- Increases in size of police force disproportionately concentrated in election years
- Growth is 2.1% in mayoral election years, 2.0% in gubernatorial election years, and 0.0% in non-election years

–

Growth in

Police

Manpower

Growth in

Crime Rate

Election

Year

Levitt (1997), A.E.R.- However...can election cycles affect crime rates through other spending channels?
- Ex., education, welfare, unemployment benefits
- If so, all of these other indirect channels must be netted out

Levitt (1997), A.E.R.

- Comparative estimates of the effect of police manpower on city crime rates
- Violent crime rate
- Levels: bLS = +.28 (s.e. = .05)
- Changes: bLS = –.27 (s.e. = .06)
- Changes: bIV = –1.39 (s.e. = .55)

- Property crime rate
- Levels: bLS = +.21 (s.e. = .05)
- Changes: bLS = –.23 (s.e. = .09)
- Changes: bIV = –.38 (s.e. = .83)

- Violent crime rate

Levitt (1997), A.E.R.

- Follow-up instrumental variables studies of the police-crime relationship in the U.S.
- Levitt (2002) = Number of firefighters
- Klick and Tabarrok (2005) = Washington, DC, terrorism alert levels post-9/11
- Evans and Owens (2007) = Grants from the federal Office of C.O.P.S.

- These findings basically replicated those from Levitt’s (1997) original study

Apel et al. (2008), J.Q.C.

- What effect does working have on adolescent behavior?
- Prior research suggests the consequences of work are uniformly negative
- Focus on “work intensity” rather than work per se
- Youth Worker Protection Act

- Problem of non-random selection into youth labor market
- Especially pronounced for high-intensity workers

Apel et al. (2008), J.Q.C.

- Something interesting happens at age 16
- Youth work is no longer governed by the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (F.L.S.A.)

Apel et al. (2008), J.Q.C.

- F.L.S.A. governs employment of all 15 year olds during the school year
- No work past 7:00 pm
- Maximum 3 hours/day and 18 hours/week

- But, F.L.S.A. expires for 16 year olds
- And...every state has its own law governing 16-year-old employment
- Thus, youth age into less restrictive regimes that vary across jurisdictions

Apel et al. (2008), J.Q.C.

- Change in work intensity at 15-16 transition among 15-year-old non-workers

Magnitude of change is an increasing function of the number of hours allowed at age 16

Apel et al. (2008), J.Q.C.

Apel et al. (2008), J.Q.C.

- A 20-hour increase in the number of hours worked per week reduces the “variety” of delinquent behavior by 0.47 (–.023320)

Angrist and Krueger (1991), J.L.E.

- Returns to education (Y = wages)
- Problem of omitted “ability bias”

- Years of schooling vary by quarter of birth
- Compulsory schooling laws, age-at-entry rules
- Someone born in Q1 is a little older and will be able to drop out sooner than someone born in Q4

- Q.O.B. can be treated as a useful source of exogeneity in schooling

Source: Angrist and Krueger (1991), Figure I

Angrist and Krueger (1991), J.L.E.- People born in Q1 do obtain less schooling
- But pay close attention to the scale of the y-axis
- Mean difference between Q1 and Q4 is only 0.124, or 1.5 months

- So...need large N since R2X,Z will be very small
- A&K had over 300k for the 1930-39 cohort

Angrist and Krueger (1991), J.L.E.

- Final 2SLS model interacted QOB with year of birth (30), state of birth (150)
- OLS: b = .0628 (s.e. = .0003)
- 2SLS: b = .0811 (s.e. = .0109)

- Least squares estimate does not appear to be badly biased by omitted variables
- But...replication effort identified some pitfalls in this analysis that are instructive

Bound, Jaeger, and Baker (1995), J.A.S.A.

- Potential problems with QOB as an IV
- Correlation between QOB and schooling is weak
- Small Cov(X,Z) introduces finite-sample bias, which will be exacerbated with the inclusion of many IV’s

- QOB may not be completely exogenous
- Even small Cov(Z,e) will cause inconsistency, and this will be exacerbated when Cov(X,Z) is small

- Correlation between QOB and schooling is weak
- QOB qualifies as a weak instrument that may be correlated with unobserved determinants of wages (e.g., family income)

Bound, Jaeger, and Baker (1995), J.A.S.A.

- Even if the instrument is “good,” matters can be made far worse with IV as opposed to LS
- Weak correlation between IV and endogenous regressor can pose severe finite-sample bias
- And…really large samples won’t help, especially if there is even weak endogeneity between IV and error

- Weak correlation between IV and endogenous regressor can pose severe finite-sample bias
- First-stage diagnostics provide a sense of how good an IV is in a given setting
- F-test and partial-R2 on IV’s

Useful Diagnostic Tools for IV Models

- Tests of instrument relevance
- Weak IV’s → Large variance of bIV as well as potentially severe finite-sample bias

- Tests of instrument exogeneity
- Endogenous IV’s → Inconsistency of bIV that makes it no better (and probably worse) than bLS

- Durbin-Wu-Hausman test
- Endogeneity of the problem regressor(s)

Tests of Instrument Relevance

- Diagnostics based on the F-test for the joint significance of the IV’s
- Nelson and Startz (1990); Staiger and Stock (1997)
- Bound, Jaeger, and Baker (1995)

- Partial R-square for the IV’s
- Shea (1997)

- There is a growing econometric literature on the “weak instrument” problem

Tests of Instrument Exogeneity

- Model must be overidentified, i.e., more IV’s than endogenous X’s
- H0: All IV’s uncorrelated with structural error

- Overidentification test:
1. Estimate structural model

2. Regress IV residuals on all exogenous variables

3. Compute NR2 and compare to chi-square

- df = # IV’s – # endogenous X’s

Durbin-Wu-Hausman (DWH) Test

- Balances the consistency of IV against the efficiency of LS
- H0: IV and LS both consistent, but LS is efficient
- H1: Only IV is consistent

- DWH test for a single endogenous regressor:
DWH = (bIV – bLS) / √(s2bIV – s2bLS) ~ N(0,1)

- If |DWH| > 1.96, then X is endogenous and IV is the preferred estimator despite its inefficiency

Durbin-Wu-Hausman (DWH) Test

- A roughly equivalent procedure for DWH:
1. Estimate the first-stage model

2. Include the first-stage residual in the structural model along with the endogenous X

3. Test for significance of the coefficient on residual

- Note: Coefficient on endogenous X in this model is bIV (standard error is smaller, though)
- First-stage residual is a “generated regressor”

Software Considerations

- I have a strong preference for Stata
- Classic routine (-ivreg-) as well as a user-written one with a lot more diagnostic capability (-ivreg2-)
- Non-linear models: -ivprobit- and -ivtobit-
- Panel models: -xtivreg- and -xtivreg2-

- Useful post-estimation routines
- Overidentification: -overid-
- Endogeneity of X in LS model: -ivendog-
- Heteroscedasticity: -ivhettest-

Software Considerations

- Basic model specification in Stata
ivreg y (x = z) w [weight = wtvar], options

y = dependent variable

x = endogenous variable

z = instrumental variable

w = control variable(s)

- Useful options: first, ffirst, robust, cluster(varname)

Software Considerations

- For SAS users: Proc Syslin (SAS/ETS)
- Basic command:
proc syslin data=dataset2sls options1;

endogenous x;

instruments z w;

model y = x w/options2;

weightwtvar;

run;

- Useful “options1”: first
- Useful “options2”: overid

- Basic command:

Software Considerations

- For SPSS users: 2SLS
- Basic command:
2sls y with x w

/ instruments z w

/ constant.

- For point-and-click aficionados
- Analyze → Regression → Two-Stage Least Squares
- DEPENDENT, EXPLANATORY, and INSTRUMENTAL

- Basic command:

Software Considerations

- For Limdep users: 2SLS
- Basic command:
2SLS ; Lhs = y

; Rhs = one, x, w

; Inst = one, z, w

; Wts = wtvar

; Dfc $

- Basic command:

Application: Adolescent Work and Delinquent Behavior

- Prior research shows a positive correlation between teenage work and delinquency
- Reasons to suspect serious endogeneity bias

- 2nd wave of the NLSY97 (N = 8,368)
- Y = 1 if committed delinquent act (31.9%)
- X = 1 if worked in a formal job (52.6%)
- Z1 = 1 if child labor law allows 40+ hours (14.2%)
- Z2 = 1 if no child labor restriction in place (39.6%)

Regression Model Ignoring Endogeneity

. reg pcrime work if nomiss==1 & wave==2

Source | SS df MS Number of obs = 8368

-------------+------------------------------ F( 1, 8366) = 6.33

Model | 1.37395379 1 1.37395379 Prob > F = 0.0119

Residual | 1815.97786 8366 .217066443 R-squared = 0.0008

-------------+------------------------------ Adj R-squared = 0.0006

Total | 1817.35182 8367 .217204711 Root MSE = .4659

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

pcrime | Coef. Std. Err. t P>|t| [95% Conf. Interval]

-------------+----------------------------------------------------------------

work | .0256633 .0102005 2.52 0.012 .0056677 .0456588

_cons | .3053242 .0074009 41.26 0.000 .2908167 .3198318

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

- Teenage workers significantly more delinquent
- Modest effect but consistent with prior research

First-Stage Model

. reg work law40 nolaw if nomiss==1 & wave==2

Source | SS df MS Number of obs = 8368

-------------+------------------------------ F( 2, 8365) = 626.64

Model | 271.829722 2 135.914861 Prob > F = 0.0000

Residual | 1814.33364 8365 .216895832 R-squared = 0.1303

-------------+------------------------------ Adj R-squared = 0.1301

Total | 2086.16336 8367 .249332301 Root MSE = .46572

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

work | Coef. Std. Err. t P>|t| [95% Conf. Interval]

-------------+----------------------------------------------------------------

law40 | .0688902 .0154383 4.46 0.000 .0386274 .099153

nolaw | .3818684 .0110273 34.63 0.000 .3602521 .4034847

_cons | .3655636 .0074883 48.82 0.000 .3508847 .3802425

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

- State child labor laws affect probability of work
- This is a really strong first stage (F, R2)

Two-Stage Least Squares Model

. ivreg pcrime (work = law40 nolaw) if nomiss==1 & wave==2

Instrumental variables (2SLS) regression

Source | SS df MS Number of obs = 8368

-------------+------------------------------ F( 1, 8366) = 6.86

Model | -19.5287923 1 -19.5287923 Prob > F = 0.0088

Residual | 1836.88061 8366 .219564978 R-squared = .

-------------+------------------------------ Adj R-squared = .

Total | 1817.35182 8367 .217204711 Root MSE = .46858

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

pcrime | Coef. Std. Err. t P>|t| [95% Conf. Interval]

-------------+----------------------------------------------------------------

work | -.0744352 .0284206 -2.62 0.009 -.1301466 -.0187238

_cons | .3580171 .0158135 22.64 0.000 .3270187 .3890155

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Instrumented: work

Instruments: law40 nolaw

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

What Do the Models Suggest Thus Far?

- Completely different conclusions!
- OLS = Teenage work is criminogenic (b = +.026)
- Delinquency risk increases by 8.5 percent (base = .305)

- 2SLS = Teenage work is prophylactic (b = –.074)
- Delinquency risk decreases by 20.7 percent (base = .358)

- OLS = Teenage work is criminogenic (b = +.026)
- Which model should we believe?
- We still have some additional diagnostic work to do to evaluate the 2SLS model
- Overidentification test, Hausman test

- We still have some additional diagnostic work to do to evaluate the 2SLS model

Regression-Based Overidentification Test

. reg IVresid law40 nolaw if nomiss==1 & wave==2

Source | SS df MS Number of obs = 8368

-------------+------------------------------ F( 2, 8365) = 0.25

Model | .111648085 2 .055824043 Prob > F = 0.7755

Residual | 1836.76895 8365 .219577878 R-squared = 0.0001

-------------+------------------------------ Adj R-squared = -0.0002

Total | 1836.8806 8367 .219538735 Root MSE = .46859

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

IVresid | Coef. Std. Err. t P>|t| [95% Conf. Interval]

-------------+----------------------------------------------------------------

law40 | .010988 .0155334 0.71 0.479 -.0194613 .0414374

nolaw | .0016436 .0110953 0.15 0.882 -.020106 .0233931

_cons | -.0022127 .0075344 -0.29 0.769 -.0169821 .0125567

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

- Overidentification test = 8,368 × .0001 = .8368 ~ χ2(1)

Overidentification Test from the Software

. overid

Tests of overidentifying restrictions:

Sargan N*R-sq test 0.509 Chi-sq(1) P-value = 0.4757

Basmann test 0.508 Chi-sq(1) P-value = 0.4758

- IV’s jointly pass the exogeneity requirement
- Notice that -overid- provides a global test, whereas the regression-based approach allows you to test the IV’s jointly as well as individually

Durbin-Wu-Hausman (DWH) Test Estimated by Hand

- Summary coefficients
- OLS model: b = +.026, s.e. = .010
- 2SLS model: b = –.074, s.e. = .028
- Notice the size of the 2SLS standard error

- DWH = (–.074 – .026) / √(.0282 – .0102) ≈ –3.82
- CONCLUSION: Least squares estimate of the “work effect” is biased and inconsistent
- The 2SLS estimate is preferred

Regression-Based DWH Test

. reg pcrime work FSresid if nomiss==1 & wave==2

Source | SS df MS Number of obs = 8368

-------------+------------------------------ F( 2, 8365) = 10.40

Model | 4.50567523 2 2.25283761 Prob > F = 0.0000

Residual | 1812.84614 8365 .216718009 R-squared = 0.0025

-------------+------------------------------ Adj R-squared = 0.0022

Total | 1817.35182 8367 .217204711 Root MSE = .46553

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

pcrime | Coef. Std. Err. t P>|t| [95% Conf. Interval]

-------------+----------------------------------------------------------------

work | -.0744352 .0282357 -2.64 0.008 -.1297842 -.0190862

FSresid | .1150956 .0302771 3.80 0.000 .0557449 .1744462

_cons | .3580171 .0157106 22.79 0.000 .3272204 .3888139

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

- Coeff. on work is bIV, while t-test on FSresid is DWH
- Standard error for work is underestimated, though

Or Just Let the Software Give You the DWH Test

. ivendog

Tests of endogeneity of: work

H0: Regressor is exogenous

Wu-Hausman F test: 14.45067 F(1,8365) P-value = 0.00014

Durbin-Wu-Hausman chi-sq test: 14.43093 Chi-sq(1) P-value = 0.00015

- Notice that -ivendog- provides a chi-square test for DWH, but the z-test that we computed by hand is easily recovered
- √(χ2) = z √(14.43) = 3.80

Alternative Specifications for the Work-Delinquency Association

- IV probit model
- Without IV’s: b = +.072 (s.e. = .029)
- With IV’s: b = –.207 (s.e. = .078)

- Continuous work hours
- Without IV’s: b = +.0015 (s.e. = .0003)
- With IV’s: b = –.0024 (s.e. = .0009)

- Indicator for “intensive” work (>20 hours)
- Without IV’s: b = +.043 (s.e. = .012)
- With IV’s: b = –.095 (s.e. = .036)

Alternative Specifications for the Work-Delinquency Association

- Control variables = gender, race, child, dropout, family structure, family size, urbanicity, dwelling, school suspension, unemployment rate, mobility
- Binary work status
- Without IV’s: b = +.013 (s.e. = .010)
- With IV’s: b = –.061 (s.e. = .029)

- Continuous work hours
- Without IV’s: b = +.0007 (s.e. = .0003)
- With IV’s: b = –.0023 (s.e. = .0010)

- Intensive work indicator
- Without IV’s: b = +.020 (s.e. = .012)
- With IV’s: b = –.085 (s.e. = .040)

- Binary work status

So Where Do We Stand with the Work-Delinquency Question?

- Are child labor laws correlated with work?
- YES = first-stage F is large

- Are child labor laws good IV’s?
- YES = overidentification test is not rejected

- Is teenage work endogenous?
- YES = Hausman test is rejected

- Prior research findings that teenage work is criminogenic are selection artifacts

Stata Commands for the Foregoing Example

- Regression model ignoring endogeneity:
reg y x w

- First-stage regression model:
reg x z1 z2 w

- With controls and multiple IV’s, test relevance:
test z1 z2

- With controls and multiple IV’s, test relevance:
- 2SLS regression model:
ivreg y (x = z1 z2) w

Stata Commands for the Foregoing Example

- Manual post hoc commands
- Get residuals for regression-based overid. test:
- After 2SLS model: predict IVresid if e(sample), resid
- Then: reg IVresid z1 z2

- Get residuals for regression-based DWH test:
- After first-stage model: predict FSresid if e(sample), resid
- Then: reg y x w FSresid

- Get residuals for regression-based overid. test:
- “Canned” post hoc commands
- After 2SLS model: overid and ivendog

Now…What Happens if I Throw in a Potentially Bogus Instrument?

- Now there are three instrumental variables
- Z1 = 1 if child labor law allows 40+ hours (14.2%)
- Z2 = 1 if no child labor restriction in place (39.6%)
- Z3 = 1 if high unemployment rate in county (20.1%)

- A little more difficult to tell a convincing story that the unemployment rate is only related to delinquency through work experience
- But let’s see what happens

First-Stage Model

. reg work law40 nolaw highun if nomiss==1 & wave==2

Source | SS df MS Number of obs = 8368

-------------+------------------------------ F( 3, 8364) = 427.28

Model | 277.229696 3 92.4098987 Prob > F = 0.0000

Residual | 1808.93366 8364 .216276144 R-squared = 0.1329

-------------+------------------------------ Adj R-squared = 0.1326

Total | 2086.16336 8367 .249332301 Root MSE = .46505

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

work | Coef. Std. Err. t P>|t| [95% Conf. Interval]

-------------+----------------------------------------------------------------

law40 | .0636421 .0154519 4.12 0.000 .0333525 .0939317

nolaw | .3775975 .0110447 34.19 0.000 .3559472 .3992479

highun | -.0636009 .0127283 -5.00 0.000 -.0885517 -.0386502

_cons | .3808061 .0080759 47.15 0.000 .3649754 .3966368

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

- So far so good and consistent with expectation

Two-Stage Least Squares Model

. ivreg pcrime (work = law40 nolaw highun) if nomiss==1 & wave==2

Instrumental variables (2SLS) regression

Source | SS df MS Number of obs = 8368

-------------+------------------------------ F( 1, 8366) = 5.47

Model | -16.0635514 1 -16.0635514 Prob > F = 0.0194

Residual | 1833.41537 8366 .219150773 R-squared = .

-------------+------------------------------ Adj R-squared = .

Total | 1817.35182 8367 .217204711 Root MSE = .46814

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

pcrime | Coef. Std. Err. t P>|t| [95% Conf. Interval]

-------------+----------------------------------------------------------------

work | -.0657624 .0281159 -2.34 0.019 -.1208765 -.0106483

_cons | .3534516 .0156602 22.57 0.000 .3227537 .3841496

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Instrumented: work

Instruments: law40 nolaw highun

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Post-Hoc Diagnostics

. overid

Tests of overidentifying restrictions:

Sargan N*R-sq test 5.301 Chi-sq(2) P-value = 0.0706

Basmann test 5.301 Chi-sq(2) P-value = 0.0706

. ivendog

Tests of endogeneity of: work

H0: Regressor is exogenous

Wu-Hausman F test: 12.32811 F(1,8365) P-value = 0.00045

Durbin-Wu-Hausman chi-sq test: 12.31438 Chi-sq(1) P-value = 0.00045

- Overidentification gives cause for concern
- The p-value shouldn’t be anywhere near 0.05

Follow-Up Overidentification Test

. reg IVresid law40 nolaw highun

Source | SS df MS Number of obs = 8368

-------------+------------------------------ F( 3, 8364) = 1.77

Model | 1.1613555 3 .387118499 Prob > F = 0.1511

Residual | 1832.25406 8364 .21906433 R-squared = 0.0006

-------------+------------------------------ Adj R-squared = 0.0003

Total | 1833.41541 8367 .219124586 Root MSE = .46804

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

IVresid | Coef. Std. Err. t P>|t| [95% Conf. Interval]

-------------+----------------------------------------------------------------

law40 | .0080993 .0155512 0.52 0.603 -.0223849 .0385836

nolaw | -.0035329 .0111156 -0.32 0.751 -.0253223 .0182565

highun | -.0277671 .0128101 -2.17 0.030 -.0528781 -.0026561

_cons | .0058369 .0081277 0.72 0.473 -.0100955 .0217693

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

- Okay…unemployment rate is problematic as IV

Conclusion from Diagnostic Tests

- 2SLS “work effect” is similar
- Without unemployment, b = –.074 (s.e. = .028)
- With unemployment, b = –.066 (s.e. = .028)

- But…the second model is invalidated because the unemployment rate is not exogenous
- If affects criminality through other channels
- We need to control for all other indirect pathways, or…
- It should not be used as an IV at all

- If affects criminality through other channels

X1

X2

Y1

Y2

Closing Comments about Instrumental Variables Studies- In general, a lagged value of the endogenous regressor is not a good instrument
- Traditional structural equation model uses lagged values of X and Y as instruments to break the simultaneity between the current values of X and Y

These models impose the awfully strong assumption that lagged values of X and Y only affect the outcomes through current values

Closing Comments about Instrumental Variables Studies

- Good IV models are generally interesting in their own right, and should not be treated as “tack on” analyses
- Practice varies widely across disciplines
- Some researchers write papers about their discovery and application of a “clever” IV for some problem
- Other researchers “tack on” IV models at the end of their analysis, often poorly, as a way to convince readers that their results are robust

- Practice varies widely across disciplines

Rules for Good Practice with Instrumental Variables Models

- IV models can be very informative, but it’s your job to convince your audience
- Show the first-stage model diagnostics
- Even the most clever IV might not be sufficiently strongly related to X to be a useful source of identification

- Report test(s) of overidentifying restrictions
- An invalid IV is often worse than no IV at all

- Report LS endogeneity (DWH) test

- Show the first-stage model diagnostics

Rules for Good Practice with Instrumental Variables Models

- Most importantly, TELL A STORY about why a particular IV is a “good instrument”
- Something to consider when thinking about whether a particular IV is “good”
- Does the IV, for all intents and purposes, randomize the endogenous regressor?

Other Interesting IV Topics I Just Don’t Have Time to Cover

- 2SLS with a continuous “treatment”
- Instrumental variables for sample selectivity
- Generalized method of moments (IV-GMM)
- Non-linear two-stage least squares (N2SLS)
- Two-sample instrumental variables (TSIV)
- Fixed-effects instrumental variables (FEIV)
- Dynamic panel data estimators

References

- Angrist. (2006). Instrumental variables methods in experimental criminology research: What, why and how. Journal of Experimental Criminology, 2, 23-44.
- Angrist & Evans. (1998). Children and their parents’ labor supply: Evidence from exogenous variation in family size. American Economic Review, 88, 450-477.
- Angrist & Krueger. (1991). Does compulsory school attendance affect schooling and earnings. Quarterly Journal of Economics, 106, 979-1014.
- Angrist & Krueger. (2001). Instrumental variables and the search for identification: From supply and demand to natural experiments. Journal of Economic Perspectives, 15, 69-85.
- Apel, Bushway, Paternoster, Brame & Sweeten. (2008). Using state child labor laws to identify the causal effect of youth employment on deviant behavior and academic achievement. Journal of Quantitative Criminology, 24, 337-362.

References

- Bound, Jaeger & Baker. (1995). Problems with instrumental variables estimation when the correlation between the instruments and the endogenous explanatory variables is weak. Journal of the American Statistical Association, 90, 443-450.
- Evans & Owens. (2007). COPS and crime. Journal of Public Economics, 91, 181-201.
- Imbens & Angrist. (1994). Identification and estimation of local average treatment effects. Econometrica, 62, 467-475.
- Kelejian. (1971). Two-stage least squares and econometric systems linear in parameters but nonlinear in the endogenous variable. Journal of the American Statistical Association, 66, 373-374.
- Klick & Tabarrok. (2005). Using terror alert levels to estimate the effect of police on crime. Journal of Law & Economics, 48, 267-279.
- Levitt. (1996). The effect of prison population size on crime rates: Evidence from prison overcrowding litigation. Quarterly Journal of Economics, 111, 319-351.
- Levitt. (1997). Using electoral cycles in police hiring to estimate the effect of police on crime. American Economic Review, 87, 270-290.

References

- Levitt. (2002). Using electoral cycles in police hiring to estimate the effect of police on crime: Reply. American Economic Review, 92, 1244-1250.
- Nelson and Startz. (1990). The distribution of the instrumental variables estimator and its t-ratio when the instrument is a poor one. Journal of Business, 63, S125-S140.
- Permutt & Hebel. (1989). Simultaneous-equation estimation in a clinical trial of the effect of smoking on birth weight. Biometrics, 45, 619-622.
- Sexton & Hebel. (1984). A clinical trial of change in maternal smoking and its effect on birth weight. Journal of the American Medical Association, 251, 911-915.
- Shea. (1997). Instrument relevance in multivariate linear models: A simple measure. Review of Economics and Statistics, 79, 348-352.
- Sherman & Berk. (1984). The specific deterrent effect of arrest for domestic assault. American Sociological Review, 49, 261-272.
- Staiger and Stock. (1997). Instrumental variables regression with weak instruments. Econometrica, 65, 557-586.

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