NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Christopher Hennessy

London Business School
Regents Park
London NW14SA
UK

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NBER Working Papers and Publications

February 2015Beyond Random Assignment: Credible Inference of Causal Effects in Dynamic Economies
with Ilya A. Strebulaev: w20978
Random assignment is insufficient for measured treatment responses to recover causal effects (comparative statics) in dynamic economies. We characterize analytically bias probabilities and magnitudes. If the policy variable is binary there is attenuation bias. With more than two policy states, treatment responses can undershoot, overshoot, or have incorrect signs. Under permanent random assignment, treatment responses overshoot (have incorrect signs) for realized changes opposite in sign to (small relative to) expected changes. We derive necessary and sufficient conditions, beyond random assignment, for correct inference of causal effects: martingale policy variable. Infinitesimal transition rates are only sufficient absent fixed costs. Stochastic monotonicity is sufficient for correct sig...
 
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