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Regional Policy Evaluation:Interactive Fixed Effects and Synthetic Controls

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  • Gobillon, Laurent
  • Magnac, Thierry

Abstract

In this paper, we investigate the use of interactive effect or linear factor models in regional policy evaluation. We contrast treatment effect estimates obtained by Bai (2009)'s least squares method with the popular difference in difference estimates as well as with estimates obtained using synthetic control approaches as developed by Abadie and coauthors. We show that difference in differences are generically biased and we derive the support conditions that are required for the application of synthetic controls. We construct an extensive set of Monte Carlo experiments to compare the performance of these estimation methods in small samples. As an empirical illustration, we also apply them to the evaluation of the impact on local unemployment of an enterprise zone policy implemented in France in the 1990s.

Suggested Citation

  • Gobillon, Laurent & Magnac, Thierry, 2013. "Regional Policy Evaluation:Interactive Fixed Effects and Synthetic Controls," IDEI Working Papers 786, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
  • Handle: RePEc:ide:wpaper:27411
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. James J. Heckman & Hidehiko Ichimura & Petra E. Todd, 1997. "Matching As An Econometric Evaluation Estimator: Evidence from Evaluating a Job Training Programme," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 64(4), pages 605-654.
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    3. Gobillon, Laurent & Magnac, Thierry & Selod, Harris, 2012. "Do unemployed workers benefit from enterprise zones? The French experience," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(9-10), pages 881-892.
    4. Timothy G. Conley & Christopher R. Taber, 2011. "Inference with "Difference in Differences" with a Small Number of Policy Changes," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 93(1), pages 113-125, February.
    5. repec:spr:portec:v:1:y:2002:i:2:d:10.1007_s10258-002-0010-3 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Richard Blundell & Monica Costa Dias, 2009. "Alternative Approaches to Evaluation in Empirical Microeconomics," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 44(3).
    7. Hyungsik Roger Moon & Martin Weidner, 2015. "Linear Regression for Panel With Unknown Number of Factors as Interactive Fixed Effects," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 83(4), pages 1543-1579, July.
    8. Victor Chernozhukov & Sokbae Lee & Adam M. Rosen, 2013. "Intersection Bounds: Estimation and Inference," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 81(2), pages 667-737, March.
    9. Catherine Doz & Domenico Giannone & Lucrezia Reichlin, 2012. "A Quasi–Maximum Likelihood Approach for Large, Approximate Dynamic Factor Models," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 94(4), pages 1014-1024, November.
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    29. repec:hal:journl:peer-00796743 is not listed on IDEAS
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Policy evaluation; Linear factor models; Synthetic controls; Economic geography; Enterprise zones;

    JEL classification:

    • C21 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Cross-Sectional Models; Spatial Models; Treatment Effect Models
    • C23 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Models with Panel Data; Spatio-temporal Models
    • H53 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Welfare Programs
    • J64 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment: Models, Duration, Incidence, and Job Search
    • R11 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Regional Economic Activity: Growth, Development, Environmental Issues, and Changes

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