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A path-sampling method to partially identify causal effects in instrumental variable models

Florian Gunsilius

Papers from arXiv.org

Abstract: Partial identification approaches are a flexible and robust alternative to standard point-identification approaches in general instrumental variable models. However, this flexibility comes at the cost of a ``curse of cardinality'': the number of restrictions on the identified set grows exponentially with the number of points in the support of the endogenous treatment. This article proposes a novel path-sampling approach to this challenge. It is designed for partially identifying causal effects of interest in the most complex models with continuous endogenous treatments. A stochastic process representation allows to seamlessly incorporate assumptions on individual behavior into the model. Some potential applications include dose-response estimation in randomized trials with imperfect compliance, the evaluation of social programs, welfare estimation in demand models, and continuous choice models. As a demonstration, the method provides informative nonparametric bounds on household expenditures under the assumption that expenditure is continuous. The mathematical contribution is an approach to approximately solving infinite dimensional linear programs on path spaces via sampling.

Date: 2019-10, Revised 2020-06
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