Panel Data Help - Fixed effects vs Random effects

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Report Thread starter 7 years ago
I am in the middle of writing my final year economics undergrad dissertation, and was wondering if I could get some help.
I am studying the link between state level military spending and state level inequality in the USA between 1994-2009. Specifically, I am interested in the effect that a shift towards a more capital intensive military (greater ratio of equipment/soldiers) has on inequality. I observe a balanced panel data set.
My problem is with methodology. I am trying to write the section where I justify the use of either fixed or random effects, and I cant seem to figure out which method I should use.
The only previous research into this topic is a 2001 paper, which examined 82 countries over 30 years, using random effects. ([1] )
Their reasoning is as follows:
'Fixed effects can be interpreted as essentially "throwing away" between country variation present in the data. This is particularly relevant for the current study since the majority of variation in inequality is between nations, rather than within nations through time.'
One of the reasons I give for examining the US at the state level is that analysing different states has an advantage over analysing different countries because of the heterogeneity that exists between states - the example I give is that the differences in culture are far slimmer between California and New York than between the UK and Nigeria, which should allow us to net out cultural differences as a driver of inequality; to a certain extent.
My question therefore, could anyone make a suggestion as to which method suits my question/dataset better? If I haven't provided sufficient information please let me know!
Hope someone can help.
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Report 7 years ago
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