Many empirical questions in economics and other social sciences depend on causal effects of programs or policies. In the last two decades, much research has been done on the econometric and statistical analysis of such causal effects. This recent theoretical literature has built on, and combined features of, earlier work in both the statistics and econometrics literatures. It has by now reached a level of maturity that makes it an important tool in many areas of empirical research in economics, including labor economics, public finance, development economics, industrial organization, and other areas of empirical microeconomics. In this review, we discuss some of the recent developments. We focus primarily on practical issues for empirical researchers, as well as provide a historical overview of the area and give references to more technical research.
The Journal of Economic Literature (JEL) began publication in 1969 under the auspices of the American Economic Association with quarterly issues appearing in March, June, September, and December. JEL contains survey and review articles, book reviews, an annotated bibliography of newly published books, and a list of current dissertations in North American universities.