Shackling the Identification Police?
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.
This paper was presented on November 19, 2018 as the Presidential address at the 88th Annual Meeting of the Southern Economic Association, in Washington DC. I thank the University of Virginia Bankard Fund for providing financial support. The views expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.
Christopher J. Ruhm, 2019. "Shackling the Identification Police?," Southern Economic Journal, vol 85(4), pages 1016-1026. citation courtesy of