Panel A illustrates a virtually linear rise in the fraction of papers, in both the NBER and top-five series, which make explicit reference to identification. This fraction has risen from around 4 percent to 50 percent of papers.
Currently, over 40 percent of NBER papers and about 35 percent of top-five papers make reference to randomized controlled trials (RCTs), lab experiments, difference-in-differences, regression discontinuity, event studies, or bunching…The term Big Data suddenly sky-rockets after 2012, with a more recent uptick in the top five.
Note that about one-quarter of NBER working papers in applied micro make references to difference-in differences. And:
The importance of figures relative to tables has increased substantially over time…
And about five percent of top five papers were RCTs in 2019. Note also that “structural models” have been on the decline in Labor Economics, but on the rise in Public Economics and Industrial Organization.
That is all from a recent paper by Janet Currie, Henrik Kleven, and Esmee Zwiers, “Technology and Big Data are Changing Economics: Mining Text to Track Methods.”
Via Ilya Novak.