What does the standard error of my IV estimate tell me?

I have computed the IV estimate and the standard error of the IV estimate. Why do I care about its standard error?

• Please be more specific. There are a lot of reasons why should you care about standard errors of the estimates. These reasons are covered in standard stats textbooks. Mar 12, 2014 at 12:01
• That is all I have. I can't compute anything else. The professor asked us to do this for the homework. We used the delta method to derive its standard error. I don't know what else I can give you. Now I'm writing a research paper and I'm thinking I should leave out the standard errors because it doesn't say to mention it in the prompt. Though, it says to compute the IV estimate. Mar 12, 2014 at 13:46
• If this is concerning the homework assignment, then please use self-study tag. We encourage such questions in this site, but you must be specific. I.e. you must explain the assignment, tell us what you did and where have you stuck. You do not need to tell all the specifics however. Giving a good question is not easy, but the effort usualy pays off. Mar 12, 2014 at 14:01
• This seems like a reasonable, if very basic, question to me. Even if it is HW, the answer is in any stats textbook; reading it here wouldn't be any different from reading it there. I just don't see a need for 6 downvotes, or that it needs to be closed. Mar 12, 2014 at 16:31
• The downvotes are merited in the sense that this question shows no research and provides no useful context. It is nevertheless an interesting and even provocative and important question, so I join @gung in suggesting that it needs no additional downvotes or close votes. It only needs some thoughtful clear answers.
– whuber
Mar 12, 2014 at 16:35

By "IV", I will assume you mean independent variable, but it is worth spelling these things out as they can stand for various things in various contexts; for example "IV" can stand for instrumental variable. Furthermore, by "computed the IV estimate", I assume you mean that you estimated the coefficient in a standard (ordinary least squares) simple regression model, or something comparable (n.b., many basic analyses, such as $t$-tests and ANOVAs are special cases of regression models, see here: How are regression, the t-test, and the ANOVA all versions of the general linear model).