NBER Working Papers and Publications
|June 2019||On Testing Continuity and the Detection of Failures|
with Matthew Backus: w26016
Estimation of discontinuities is pervasive in applied economics: from the study of sheepskin effects to prospect theory and “bunching” of reported income on tax returns, models that predict discontinuities in outcomes are uniquely attractive for empirical testing. However, existing empirical methods often rely on assumptions about the number of discontinuities, the type, the location, or the underlying functional form of the model. We develop a nonparametric approach to the study of arbitrary discontinuities — point discontinuities as well as jump discontinuities in the nth derivative, where n = 0,1,... — that does not require such assumptions. Our approach exploits the development of false discovery rate control methods for lasso regression as proposed by G’Sell et al. (2015). This framew...
|August 2017||Mostly Harmless Regulation? Electronic Cigarettes, Public Policy and Consumer Welfare|
with Donald S. Kenkel, Michael F. Pesko, Hua Wang: w23710
Electronic cigarettes are a less harmful alternative to combustible cigarettes. We analyze data on e-cigarette choices in an online experimental market. Our data and mixed logit model capture two sources of consumer optimization errors: over-estimates of the relative risks of e-cigarettes; and present bias. Our novel data and policy analysis make three contributions. First, our predictions about e-cigarette use under counter-factual policy scenarios provide new information about current regulatory tradeoffs. Second, we provide empirical evidence about the role consumer optimization errors play in tobacco product choices. Third, we contribute to behavioral welfare analysis of policies that address individual optimization errors.