NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
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Ben Gillen

Division of Humanities and Social Sciences
Mailcode 228-77
California Institute of Technology
1200 East California Blvd
Pasadena CA 91125

E-Mail: EmailAddress: hidden: you can email any NBER-related person as first underscore last at nber dot org
Institutional Affiliation: Caltech

NBER Working Papers and Publications

September 2015Experimenting with Measurement Error: Techniques with Applications to the Caltech Cohort Study
with Erik Snowberg, Leeat Yariv: w21517
Measurement error is ubiquitous in experimental work. It leads to imperfect statistical controls, attenuated estimated effects of elicited behaviors, and biased correlations between characteristics. We develop simple statistical techniques for dealing with experimental measurement error. These techniques are applied to data from the Caltech Cohort Study, which conducts repeated incentivized surveys of the Caltech student body. We illustrate the impact of measurement error by replicating three classic experiments, and showing that results change substantially when measurement error is taken into account. Collectively, these results show that failing to properly account for measurement error may cause a field-wide bias: it may lead scholars to identify "new" effects and phenomena that are ac...
 
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