In this lecture on topics in environmental economics, Dr. Sheila Olmstead overviews the use of large-N econometrics to study empirical issues and characterize causality. She starts with a general summary of econometrics as the application of statistics to economic questions and identifies the analytical foundations of empirical economics. She highlights the potential for experimental approaches to economics and notes that econometric applications use a range of approaches in research design and statistical analysis to approximate the assumptions of a controlled experiment. She presents regression models, instrumental variables, and difference-in-difference approaches as analytical tools often applied in large-N econometric studies and notes that these practices are similar to those in other disciplines seeking to approximate experimental approaches.
Angrist, J.D., and Pischke, Jorn-Steffen. (2009). Chs 1 and 2 of Mostly harmless econometrics: An empiricists companion. Princeton University Press.
Sheila Olmstead is an Associate Professor at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs, University of Texas at Austin, and a Visiting Fellow at Resources for the Future (RFF) in Washington, DC. Before joining the University of Texas in 2013, Dr. Olmstead was a Senior Fellow (2013) and Fellow (2010–2013) at RFF, as well as Associate Professor (2007–2010) and Assistant Professor (2002–2007) of Environmental Economics at the Yale University School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. Her current research projects focus on adaptation to the water resource implications of climate change, the environmental impacts of unconventional oil and gas development, the influence of federal fire suppression policy on land development in the American West, and free-riding in dam placement and water withdrawals in international river basins. She holds a PhD from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government (2002), a Masters in Public Affairs from the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs, University of Texas, Austin (1996), and a BA from the University of Virginia (1992).