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Quasi-Experimental and Experimental Approaches to Environmental Economics
Michael Greenstone, Ted Gayer
RFF Discussion Paper 07-22 | July 2007
RESEARCH TOPICS:
Abstract
This paper argues that an increased application of quasi-experimental and experimental techniques will improve understanding about core environmental economics questions. This argument is supported by a review of the limitations of associational evidence in assessing causal hypotheses. The paper also discusses the benefits of experiments and quasi-experiments, outlines some quasi-experimental methods, and highlights some threats to their validity. It then illustrates the quasi-experimental method by assessing the validity of a new one in environmental economics that seeks to estimate the impact of the Endangered Species Act on property markets in North Carolina. Ultimately, the greater application of experimental and quasi-experimental techniques has the potential to identify efficient policies that increase social welfare.
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