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05 March 2007


Mike Guttentag

It seems to me that one of the most interesting applications of an instrumental variable in the context of the empirical study of the law is the series of articles by LaPorta, Lopez de Silanes, Shleifer, and Vishny. In these articles, these authors argue that the quality of legal protections is an important determinant of the strength of a country’s capital markets. They offer an instrumental variable analysis to support their argument, using the source of law as an instrument. These are exciting arguments, but legal academics have failed to my knowledge to seriously engage the issues as to the validity of their instrument. I think this is a question that deserves further discussion.

Michael Heise

Interesting post, Bill. Your observation about the discipline-specific (economists v. political scientists) aspect of the (albeit rough) opinion split on IVs and matching reminded me a bit about the old SPSS v. SAS "battles."

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