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Natural Experiment

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PPGPortal > Home > Concept Dictionary > N, O > Natural Experiment

Natural Experiment 

A natural or "quasi" experiment is created by a circumstance in which randomness is introduced by variations in individual circumstances that make it appear as if the treatment is randomly assigned.

(Stock, James H. and Mark. W. Watson. 2007. Introduction to Econometrics, 2nd ed. Boston: Pearson/Addison Wesley.


A research experiment can be referred to as “natural” or “quasi” experimental when the evaluator does not have to apply random assignment to ensure that no omitted variable bias arises. In other words, a scenario “naturally” arises in which people are assigned to different treatment groups and possess similar, if not identical, pre-assignment characteristics.


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