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The Age-Time-Cohort Problem and the Identification of Structural Parameters in Life-Cycle Models
A standard approach to estimating structural parameters in life-cycle models imposes sufficient assumptions on the data to identify the ?age profile" of outcomes, then chooses model parameters so that the model's age profile matches this empirical age profile. I show that this approach is both incorrect and unnecessary: incorrect, because it generally produces inconsistent estimators of the structural parameters, and unnecessary, because consistent estimators can be obtained under weaker assumptions. I derive an estimation method that avoids the problems of the standard approach. I ...