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Estimation of Treatment E¤ects Without an Exclusion Restriction: with an Application to the Analysis of the School Breakfast Program

By Daniel L. Millimet and Rusty Tchernis


While the rise in childhood obesity is clear, the policy rami…cations are not. School nutrition programs such as the School Breakfast Program (SBP) have come under much scrutiny. However, the lack of experimental evidence, combined with non-random selection into these programs, makes identi…cation of the causal e¤ects of such programs di ¢ cult. In the case of the SBP, this di ¢ culty is exacerbated by the apparent lack of exclusion restrictions. Here, we compare via Monte Carlo study several existing estimators that do not rely on exclusion restrictions for identi…cation. In addition, we propose two new estimation strategies. Simulations illustrate the usefulness of our new estimators, as well as provide applied researchers several practical guidelines when analyzing the causal e¤ects of binary treatments. More importantly, we …nd consistent evidence of a bene…cial causal e¤ect of SBP participation on childhood obesity when applying estimators designed to circumvent selection on unobservables

Topics: James Heckman, Keisuke Hirano, Michael Lechner, Arthur Lewbel, Salvador Navarro-Lozano, Denis Nekipelov, Je ¤ Smith
Year: 2009
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