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Wanna Get Away? RD Identification Away from the Cutoff

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  • Joshua Angrist
  • Miikka Rokkanen

Abstract

In the canonical regression discontinuity (RD) design for applicants who face an award or admissions cutoff, causal effects are nonparametrically identified for those near the cutoff. The impact of treatment on inframarginal applicants is also of interest, but identification of such effects requires stronger assumptions than are required for identification at the cutoff. This paper discusses RD identification away from the cutoff. Our identification strategy exploits the availability of dependent variable predictors other than the running variable. Conditional on these predictors, the running variable is assumed to be ignorable. This identification strategy is illustrated with data on applicants to Boston exam schools. Functional-form-based extrapolation generates unsatisfying results in this context, either noisy or not very robust. By contrast, identification based on RD-specific conditional independence assumptions produces reasonably precise and surprisingly robust estimates of the effects of exam school attendance on inframarginal applicants. These estimates suggest that the causal effects of exam school attendance for 9th grade applicants with running variable values well away from admissions cutoffs differ little from those for applicants with values that put them on the margin of acceptance. An extension to fuzzy designs is shown to identify causal effects for compliers away from the cutoff.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 18662.

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Date of creation: Dec 2012
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:18662

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  1. Atila Abdulkadiroğlu & Joshua D. Angrist & Susan M. Dynarski & Thomas J. Kane & Parag A. Pathak, 2011. "Accountability and Flexibility in Public Schools: Evidence from Boston's Charters And Pilots," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 126(2), pages 699-748.
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  5. Imbens, Guido W. & Kalyanaraman, Karthik, 2009. "Optimal Bandwidth Choice for the Regression Discontinuity Estimator," IZA Discussion Papers 3995, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  6. Heckman, James J & Ichimura, Hidehiko & Todd, Petra, 1998. "Matching as an Econometric Evaluation Estimator," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 65(2), pages 261-94, April.
  7. Yingying Dong & Arthur Lewbel, 2010. "Identifying the Effect of Changing the Policy Threshold in Regression Discontinuity Models," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 759, Boston College Department of Economics, revised 15 Dec 2012.
  8. Parag A. Pathak & Tayfun Sönmez, 2013. "School Admissions Reform in Chicago and England: Comparing Mechanisms by Their Vulnerability to Manipulation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(1), pages 80-106, February.
  9. Patrick Kline, 2011. "Oaxaca-Blinder as a Reweighting Estimator," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(3), pages 532-37, May.
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  11. Battistin, Erich & Rettore, Enrico, 2008. "Ineligibles and eligible non-participants as a double comparison group in regression-discontinuity designs," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 142(2), pages 715-730, February.
  12. Markus Froelich, 2002. "Nonparametric IV estimation of local average treatment effects with covariates," University of St. Gallen Department of Economics working paper series 2002 2002-19, Department of Economics, University of St. Gallen.
  13. Parag A. Pathak & Tayfun Sonmez, 2008. "Leveling the Playing Field: Sincere and Sophisticated Players in the Boston Mechanism," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(4), pages 1636-52, September.
  14. C. Kirabo Jackson, 2010. "Do Students Benefit from Attending Better Schools? Evidence from Rule-based Student Assignments in Trinidad and Tobago," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, Royal Economic Society, vol. 120(549), pages 1399-1429, December.
  15. Yingying Dong & Arthur Lewbel, 2011. "Regression Discontinuity Marginal Threshold Treatment Effects," Working Papers 111205, University of California-Irvine, Department of Economics.
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Cited by:
  1. Coviello, Decio & Mariniello, Mario, 2014. "Publicity requirements in public procurement: Evidence from a regression discontinuity design," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 109(C), pages 76-100.
  2. Clark, Damon & Del Bono, Emilia, 2014. "The long-run effects of attending an elite school: evidence from the UK," ISER Working Paper Series 2014-05, Institute for Social and Economic Research.
  3. Alexander Hijzen & Leopoldo Mondauto & Stefano Scarpetta, 2013. "The Perverse Effects of Job-security Provisions on Job Security in Italy: Results from a Regression Discontinuity Design," OECD Social, Employment and Migration Working Papers 151, OECD Publishing.
  4. Sander Gerritsen & Karen van der Wiel & Erik Plug (UVA), 2013. "Up or out? How individual research grants affect academic careers in the Netherlands," CPB Discussion Paper 249, CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis.

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