Shackling the Identification Police?

16 Pages Posted: 3 Dec 2018 Last revised: 8 Mar 2021

See all articles by Christopher J. Ruhm

Christopher J. Ruhm

University of Virginia - Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Date Written: November 2018

Abstract

This paper examines potential tradeoffs between research methods in answering important questions versus providing more cleanly identified estimates on problems that are potentially of lesser interest. The strengths and limitations of experimental and quasi-experimental methods are discussed and it is postulated that confidence in the results obtained may sometimes be overvalued compared to the importance of the topics addressed. The consequences of this are modeled and several suggestions are provided regarding possible steps to encourage greater focus on questions of fundamental importance.

Suggested Citation

Ruhm, Christopher J., Shackling the Identification Police? (November 2018). NBER Working Paper No. w25320, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3294925

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