NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Natural and Quasi- Experiments in Economics

Bruce D. Meyer

NBER Technical Working Paper No. 170
Issued in December 1994
NBER Program(s):   LS

Using research designs patterned after randomized experiments, many recent economic studies examine outcome measures for treatment groups and comparison groups that are not randomly assigned. By using variation in explanatory variables generated by changes in state laws, government draft mechanisms, or other means, these studies obtain variation that is readily examined and is plausibly exogenous. This paper describes the advantages of these studies and suggests how they can be improved. It also provides aids in judging the validity of inferences they draw. Design complications such as multiple treatment and comparison groups and multiple pre- or post-intervention observations are advocated.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/t0170

Published: "Natural and Quasi-Experiments in Economics," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, vol 13, April 1995, pp 151-162.

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