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Micro Data, Heterogeneity and the Evaluation of Public Policy Part 1

James Heckman

The American Economist, 2004, vol. 48, issue 2, 3-25

Abstract: This paper summarizes the contributions of microeconometrics to economic knowledge. Four main themes are developed. (1) Microeconometricians developed new tools to respond to econometric problems raised by the analysis of the new sources of micro data produced after the Second World War. (2) Microeconometrics improved on aggregate time series methods by building models that linked economic models for individuals to data on individual behaviour. (3) An important empirical regularity detected by the field is the diversity and heterogeneity of behaviour. This heterogeneity has profound consequences for economic theory and for econometric practice. (4) Microeconometrics has contributed substantially to the scientific evaluation of public policy.

Date: 2004
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