Published and Forthcoming Papers
A. Advani, T. Kitagawa and T. Słoczyński (forthcoming), Journal of Applied Econometrics
We consider two recent suggestions for how to perform an empirically motivated Monte Carlo study to help select a treatment effect estimator under unconfoundedness. We show theoretically that neither is likely to be informative except under restrictive conditions that are unlikely to be satisfied in many contexts. To test empirical relevance, we also apply the approaches to a real-world setting where estimator performance is known. Both approaches are worse than random at selecting estimators which minimise absolute bias. They are better when selecting estimators that minimise mean squared error. However, using a simple bootstrap is at least as good and often better. For now researchers would be best advised to use a range of estimators and compare estimates for robustness.
A. Advani and B. Malde (2018), Journal of Economic Surveys
Understanding whether and how connections between agents (networks) such as declared friendships in classrooms, transactions between firms, and extended family connections, influence their socio-economic outcomes has been a growing area of research within economics. Early methods developed to identify these social effects assumed that networks had formed exogenously, and were perfectly observed, both of which are unlikely to hold in practice. A more recent literature, both within economics and in other disciplines, develops methods that relax these assumptions. This paper reviews that literature. It starts by providing a general econometric framework for linear models of social effects, and illustrates how network endogeneity and missing data on the network complicate identification of social effects. Thereafter, it discusses methods for overcoming the problems caused by endogenous formation of networks. Finally, it outlines the stark consequences of missing data on measures of the network, and regression parameters, before describing potential solutions.
A. Advani and B. Malde (2018), Swiss Journal of Economics and Statistics (solicited)
In many contexts we may be interested in understanding whether direct connections between agents, such as declared friendships in a classroom or family links in a rural village, affect their outcomes. In this paper we review the literature studying econometric methods for the analysis of linear models of social effects, a class that includes the `linear-in-means' local average model, the local aggregate model, and models where network statistics affect outcomes. We provide an overview of the underlying theoretical models, before discussing conditions for identification using observational and experimental/quasi-experimental data.
A. Advani and B. Malde (2014), IFS Working Paper W14/34
In many contexts we may be interested in understanding whether direct connections between agents, such as declared friendships in a classroom or family links in a rural village, affect their outcomes. In this paper we review the literature studying econometric methods for the analyis of social networks. We begin by providing a common framework for models of social effects, a class that includes the ‘linear-in-means’ local average model, the local aggregate model, and models where network statistics affect outcomes. We discuss identification of these models using both observational and experimental/quasi-experimental data. We then discuss models of network formation, drawing on a range of literatures to cover purely predictive models, reduced form models, and structural models, including those with a strategic element. Finally we discuss how one might collect data on networks, and the measurement error issues caused by sampling of networks, as well as measurement error more broadly.
Policy Papers and Comments
A. Advani (2019), SMF-CAGE Briefing Paper
A. Advani (2017), IFS Briefing Note BN218
This IFS Briefing note uses data from HMRC’s random audit programme to show which types of people are more likely to be under-reporting taxes and how their behaviour changes after a tax audit. The results are based on data from audits covering tax returns for the years 1999–2009.
A. Advani and G. Stoye (2017), Fiscal Studies
Current UK energy use policies, which primarily aim to reduce carbon emissions, provide abatement incentives which vary by user and fuel, creating inefficiency. Distributional concerns are often given as a justification for the lower carbon price faced by households, but there is little rationale for carbon prices associated with the use of gas to be lower than those for electricity. We consider reforms that raise carbon prices faced by households, and reduce the variation in carbon prices across gas and electricity use, improving the efficiency of emissions reduction. We show that the revenue raised from this can be recycled in a way that ameliorates some of the distributional concerns. Whilst such recycling is not able to protect all poorer households, existing policy also makes distributional trade-offs, but does this in an opaque and inefficient way.
A. Advani, S. Bassi, A. Bowen, S. Fankhauser, P. Johnson, A. Leicester, and G. Stoye (2013), IFS Report 84
The report analyses and assesses: the rationale and objectives of energy policy;
the current policy landscape faced by UK energy users; how current and future
policy has led to inconsistencies in the implicit carbon prices faced by
different users; and potential ways in which to improve policy affecting domestic
and business energy users.
A. Advani, P. Johnson, A. Leicester, and G. Stoye (2013), IFS Report 85
Government wants both to reduce carbon emissions and to reduce ‘fuel poverty’. Energy prices have risen in part because of a multitude of policies aimed at reducing emissions. There are also multiple policies aimed at ameliorating these effects. Altogether, this leads to a complex policy landscape, inefficient pricing and opaque distributional effects.
In this report, we show the effects of energy price rises over the recent past, look at what current policies mean for effective carbon prices and their impact on bills, and consider the distributional consequences of a more consistent approach to carbon pricing, alongside possible changes to the tax and benefit system that could mitigate these effects.
A. Advani, P. Levell, and G. Stoye (2011), IFS Observation
A. Advani, A. Leicester, and P. Levell (2011), IFS Observation