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An evaluation of the performance of regression discontinuity design on PROGRESA

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  • Buddelmeyer, Hielke
  • Skoufias, Emmanuel

Abstract

While providing the most reliable method of evaluating social programs, randomized experiments in developing and developed countries alike are accompanied by political risks and ethical issues that jeopardize the chances of adopting them. In this paper the authors use a unique data set from rural Mexico collected for the purposes of evaluating the impact of the PROGRESA poverty alleviation program to examine the performance of a quasi-experimental estimator, the Regression Discontinuity Design (RDD). Using as a benchmark the impact estimates based on the experimental nature of the sample, we examine how estimates differ when we use the RDD as the estimator for evaluating program impact on two key indicators: child school attendance and child work. Overall the performance of the RDD was remarkably good. The RDD estimates of program impact agreed with the experimental estimates in 10 out of the 12 possible cases. The two cases in which the RDD method failed to reveal any significant program impact on the school attendance of boys and girls were in the first year of the program (round 3). RDD estimates comparable to the experimental estimates were obtained when we used as a comparison group children from non-eligible households in the control localities.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 3386.

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Date of creation: 01 Sep 2004
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:3386

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Keywords: Scientific Research&Science Parks; Public Health Promotion; Health Monitoring&Evaluation; Housing&Human Habitats; Anthropology; Scientific Research&Science Parks; Science Education; VN-Acb Mis -- IFC-00535908; Health Monitoring&Evaluation; Housing&Human Habitats;

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  1. Judy L. Baker, 2000. "Evaluating the Impact of Development Projects on Poverty : A Handbook for Practitioners," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 13949, October.
  2. Dehejia, R.H. & Wahba, S., 1998. "Propensity Score Matching Methods for Non-Experimental Causal Studies," Discussion Papers 1998_02, Columbia University, Department of Economics.
  3. James J. Heckman & Jeffrey A. Smith, 1995. "Assessing the Case for Social Experiments," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 9(2), pages 85-110, Spring.
  4. Emmanuel Skoufias & Susan Wendy Parker, 2001. "Conditional Cash Transfers and Their Impact on Child Work and Schooling: Evidence from the PROGRESA Program in Mexico," JOURNAL OF LACEA ECONOMIA, LACEA - LATIN AMERICAN AND CARIBBEAN ECONOMIC ASSOCIATION.
  5. Jinyong Hahn & Petra Todd & Wilbert Van der Klaauw, 1999. "Evaluating the Effect of an Antidiscrimination Law Using a Regression-Discontinuity Design," NBER Working Papers 7131, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Petra E. Todd & Jeffrey A. Smith, 2001. "Reconciling Conflicting Evidence on the Performance of Propensity-Score Matching Methods," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(2), pages 112-118, May.
  7. T. Paul Schultz, 2001. "School Subsidies for the Poor: Evaluating the Mexican Progresa Poverty Program," Working Papers 834, Economic Growth Center, Yale University.
  8. Behrman, Jere R. & Deolalikar, Anil B., 1988. "Health and nutrition," Handbook of Development Economics, in: Hollis Chenery & T.N. Srinivasan (ed.), Handbook of Development Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 14, pages 631-711 Elsevier.
  9. Heckman, James J & Ichimura, Hidehiko & Todd, Petra E, 1997. "Matching as an Econometric Evaluation Estimator: Evidence from Evaluating a Job Training Programme," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 64(4), pages 605-54, October.
  10. Wilbert van der Klaauw, 2002. "Estimating the Effect of Financial Aid Offers on College Enrollment: A Regression-Discontinuity Approach," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 43(4), pages 1249-1287, November.
  11. Heckman, James J. & Lalonde, Robert J. & Smith, Jeffrey A., 1999. "The economics and econometrics of active labor market programs," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 31, pages 1865-2097 Elsevier.
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