Russell Roberts Unable to Respond to the Answer that I gave him?

In a previous post Russell Roberts asked for a single example of a useful instrument in empirical work.

So again, my question to my better-read colleagues in the profession--give me an example of a statistical analysis that relies on instrumental variables, for example, that is done well enough, that is so iron-clad, that it can reverse the prior beliefs of a skeptic. . . . .

I wrote him back:

1) I don't put a huge amount of weight often on instrumental variables, but let me give one example from my own work on giving women the right to vote. The instrument there is whether states voluntarily or were forced to give women the right to vote. We found that both types of states experienced a similar increase in government growth after women were given the right to vote. If it was simply increased liberalism by men that caused both suffrage for women and government growth, you should see that in states that reached a critical mass to voluntarily give women the right to vote, but not in others where states were forced to given them a vote.

After several responses back and forth I wrote Russell that: "The best that I can see in you response to what I wrote is 'So let me try again. Very few econometric analyses persuade skeptics.' You have a similar response on your blog. It does not appear to me that this is a helpful response nor is it very direct. Explain why my responses, particularly the instrument regarding women's voting, doesn't meet your concerns. You asked for an example and I gave you one that used an instrument. I have yet to see one paper challenge the instrument that we used on women's voting, and you provide no logical objection."


Russell asks that I not print his reply.

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