Substantive Dimensions of the Deliberations
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on the tip of the iceberg
Russ Roberts interviews Josh Angrist: Josh’s thoughts on pre-commitment/pre-analysis, especially when it comes to non-experimental work “I have mixed feelings about it, because I don't do a lot of randomized trials and I think the idea of precommitment becomes very difficult in some of the research designs that I use where you really need to see the data before you can decide how to analyze them. You're not sure what's going to work. That said, when you can precommit, that's a wonderful thing, and it produces especially convincing findings. The idea that I should show the world a mapping of all possible models and that that's the key to all good empirical work: I did disagree with that at the time and I still do… So when I talk about RD and I'm using RD, regression discontinuity, methods to estimate the effects of going to an exam school, you know the design there is that I'm comparing people above and below the test score cutoff. And if that design is convincing, it'll satisfy certain criteria, which I then owe my reader. But I certainly don't owe my readers an account of all possible strategies. I really do build it from my proposed design.”