The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics

2018 Edition
| Editors: Macmillan Publishers Ltd

Selection Bias and Self-Selection

  • James J. Heckman
Reference work entry


This entry defines the problems of selection bias and presents the conditions required to solve them. It gives examples of common sampling frames, presents economic selection mechanisms, and discusses the assumptions required to use selected samples to determine features of the population distribution.

The analytical framework developed to understand selection bias problems is also fruitful in understanding the economics of self-selection. The prototypical model of choice theoretic self-selection is the Roy model, in which agents choose among a variety of discrete ‘occupational’ opportunities. The Roy model is presented and its fruitful extension to a variety of settings is demonstrated.


Censored regression model Choice-based sampling General stratified sampling Length-biased sampling Random sampling Roy model Selection bias and self-selection Size-biased sampling 

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© Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • James J. Heckman
    • 1
  1. 1.