Mostly Harmless Econometrics: An Empiricist's Companion
Mostly Harmless Econometrics: An Empiricist's Companion

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The core methods in today's econometric toolkit are linear regression for statistical control, instrumental variables methods for the analysis of natural experiments, and differences-in-differences methods that exploit policy changes. In the modern experimentalist paradigm, these techniques address clear causal questions such as: Do smaller classes increase learning? Should wife batterers be arrested? How much does education raise wages? Mostly Harmless Econometrics shows how the basic tools of applied econometrics allow the data to speak.

In addition to econometric essentials, Mostly Harmless Econometrics covers important new extensions--regression-discontinuity designs and quantile regression--as well as how to get standard errors right. Joshua Angrist and J?rn-Steffen Pischke explain why fancier econometric techniques are typically unnecessary and even dangerous. The applied econometric methods emphasized in this book are easy to use and relevant for many areas of contemporary social science.

  • An irreverent review of econometric essentials
  • A focus on tools that applied researchers use most
  • Chapters on regression-discontinuity designs, quantile regression, and standard errors
  • Many empirical examples
  • A clear and concise resource with wide applications

Customer Reviews:

  • Great resource for teachers and students
    Mostly Harmless Econometrics is a great resource for teachers, researchers and researchers-in-training. Causal inference is an afterthought in most econometrics tests, where it gets lost in the lengthy exegesis of large-sample theory. MHE puts causal inference front and center, where it belongs. I have used the book with great success in introductory methods courses for masters' and doctoral students in public policy and education at Michigan. ...more info
  • Fun for Labor Economists
    After drowning in Heckman, cursing Rubin and struggling with Manski, this is a welcome and needed relief. I think back to what "Thinking Strategically" was to Game Theory and must conclude that having fun must be regular and necessary phase in the gestation of an idea.
    The authors take delight in the subject and dole out some of the most interesting applications from a field that's a testament to soporifics.
    Trust me...if it weren't for Monster Energy drinks, none of us would understand this stuff.
    Their mathematics is approachable by anyone who knows what an expectation is. They take on such opaque subjects as instrumental variables and differences-of-differences with some examples that I promise will stay with you even after you've put the book down. The subjects connect with a real ease and you're never left referring back to earlier chapters or other texts to "remember" something they've assumed you know.
    On whole, they approach the subject with a joy I haven't seen since I saw a couple of otters on a water slide on the side of an island in Alaska.
    ...more info
  • Thoroughly recommended
    I have taken a ton of econometrics courses in my time, but reading this book really opened my eyes. It really ties together a whole lot of fundamental concepts in a way that I have never seen before.

    It should definitely be viewed as a "companion": you will need a more standard text to pass your graduate econometrics course or to do more complex routines in Stata (e.g Wooldridge). However, if you want a "deep" and intuitive understanding of cutting-edge modern applied micro with a solid and explicit grounding in the setting of causal inference then you should buy this book now. Plus (and a first for a metrics book), it's a fun read! ...more info
  • Excellent survey on treatment effects
    The authors present a well written, up to date and reasonably self contained discussion of program evaluation. Examples of programs include training programs for unemployed people, vaccinations against a disease, early education, school lunches or military service. Outcomes of interest could be employment status, health, high school graduation, achievement test scores or income. The evaluation problem is easy to state: we wish to estimate the average value of Y(1)-Y(0), where Y(1) is the outcome if the person receives the treatment (lunch, training etc.) and Y(0) is the outcome without the treatment. This is a problem because for any one individual we can observe Y(0) or Y(1), but not both. If the treatment is given randomly to some individuals and not others, one could just use the average of Y(1) minus the average of Y(0). In many cases the treatment is not assigned randomly. For example, in most social programs participation is voluntary, and it may be that those who do participate are different from those who do not in ways that may influence the outcome. The book surveys methods that have been developed to deal with various departures from randomness. The book should be accessible to students (graduate or undergraduate) and other individuals interested in these problems. An alternative, less self contained, source is the article by Guido Imbens and Jeffrey Wooldridge, "Recent Developments in the Econometrics of Program Evaluation" in the March 2009 issue of Journal of Economic Literature pages 5-86....more info
  • Excellent book, from an unbiased (and consistent) consumer
    This book should be required reading for everyone who is either a teacher or a consumer of econometrics methods. It has excellent structure and content. You will need to know a little bit of econometrics (high level undergrad) to get the most out of it. But, as you can see from the other reviews, it has received praise all the way from Joe the Plumber to Sue the Professor (ps. I think you meant econometric texts not tests)!!!...more info


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