Working Paper

A reduced bias GMM-like estimator with reduced estimator dispersion


Jerry Hausman, Randall Lewis, Konrad Menzel, Whitney K. Newey

Published Date

14 September 2007


Working Paper (CWP24/07)

2SLS is by far the most-used estimator for the simultaneous equation problem. However, it is now well-recognized that 2SLS can exhibit substantial finite sample (second-order) bias when the model is over-identified and the first stage partial R2 is low. The initial recommendation to solve this problem was to do LIML, e.g.Bekker(1994) or Staiger and Stock (1997).

However, Hahn, Hausman, and Kuersteiner (HHK 2004) demonstrated that the “problem” of LIML led to undesirable estimates in this situation. Morimune (1983) analyzed both the bias in 2SLS and the lack of moments in LIML. While it was long known that LIML did not have finite sample moments, it was less known that this lack of moments led to the undesirable property of considerable dispersion in the estimates, e.g. the inter-quartile range was much larger than 2SLS. HHK developed a jackknife 2SLS (J2SLS) estimator that attenuated the 2SLS bias problem and had good dispersion properties. They found in their empirical results that the J2SLS estimator or the Fuller estimator, which modifies LIML to have moments, did well on both the bias and dispersion criteria. Since the Fuller estimator had smaller second order MSE, HHK recommended using the Fuller estimator. However, Bekker and van der Ploeg (2005) and Hausman, Newey and Woutersen (HNW 2005) recognized that both Fuller and LIML are inconsistent with heteroscedasticity as the number of instruments becomes large in the Bekker (1994)sequence. Since econometricians recognize that heteroscedasticity is often present, this finding presents a problem.Hausman, Newey,Woutersen, Chao and Swanson (HNWCS 2007) solve this problem by proposing jackknife LIML (HLIML) and jackknife Fuller (HFull)estimators that are consistent in the presence of heteroscedasticity. HLIML does not have moments so HNWCS (2007)recommend using HFull, which does have moments. However, a problem remains. If serial correlation or clustering exists, neither HLIML nor HFull is consistent.

The continuous updating estimator, CUE, which is the GMM-like generalization of LIML, introduced by Hansen, Heaton, and Yaron (1996) would solve this problem. The CUE estimator also allows treatment of non-linear specifications which the above estimators need not allow for and also allows for general non- spherical disturbances. However, CUE suffers from the moment problem and exhibits wide dispersion. GMM does not suffer from the no moments problem, but like 2SLS, GMM has finite sample bias that grows with the number of moments.

In this paper we modify CUE to solve the no moments/large dispersion problem. We consider the dual formulation of CUE and we modify the CUE first order conditions by adding a term of order 1/T. To first order the variance of the estimator is the same as GMM or CUE, so no large sample efficiency is lost. The resulting estimator has moments up to the degree of overidentification and demonstrates considerably reduced bias relative to GMM and reduced dispersion relative to CUE. Thus, we expect the new estimator will be useful for empirical research. We next consider a similar approach but use a class of functions which permits us to specify an estimator with all integral moments existing. Lastly, we demonstrate how this approach can be extended to the entire family of Maximum Empirical Likelihood (MEL) Estimators, so these estimators will have integral moments of all orders.