Bartik Instruments: What, When, Why, and How
77 Pages Posted: 20 Mar 2018 Last revised: 11 Sep 2021
Date Written: March 2018
The Bartik instrument is formed by interacting local industry shares and national industry growth rates. We show that the typical use of a Bartik instrument assumes a pooled exposure research design, where the shares measure differential exposure to common shocks, and identification is based on exogeneity of the shares. Next, we show how the Bartik instrument weights each of the exposure designs. Finally, we discuss how to assess the plausibility of the research design. We illustrate our results through three applications: estimating the elasticity of labor supply, estimating local labor market effects of Chinese imports, and estimating the elasticity of substitution between immigrants and natives.
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