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Another look at the regression discontinuity design

  • Erich Battistin

    ()

    (Institute for Fiscal Studies)

  • Enrico Rettore

The attractiveness of the Regression Discontinuity Design (RDD) in its sharp formulation rests on close similarities with a formal experimental design. On the other hand, it is of limited applicability since rarely individuals are assigned to the treatment group on the basis of a pre-program measure observable to the analyst. Besides, it only allows to identify the mean impact of the program for a very specific sub-population of individuals. In this paper we show that the sharp RDD straightforwardly generalizes to the instances in which the eligibility for the program is established with respect to an observable pre-program measure with eligible individuals self-selecting into the treatment group according to an unknown process. This set-up also turns out very convenient to define a specification test on conventional non-experimental estimators of the program effect needed to identify the mean impact away from the threshold for eligibility. Data requirements are made explicit.

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File URL: http://cemmap.ifs.org.uk/wps/cwp0301.pdf
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Paper provided by Centre for Microdata Methods and Practice, Institute for Fiscal Studies in its series CeMMAP working papers with number CWP01/03.

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Length: 18 pp.
Date of creation: Mar 2003
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ifs:cemmap:01/03
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  1. Richard Blundell & Monica Costa Dias, 2000. "Evaluation methods for non-experimental data," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 21(4), pages 427-468, January.
  2. LaLonde, Robert J, 1986. "Evaluating the Econometric Evaluations of Training Programs with Experimental Data," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(4), pages 604-20, September.
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  4. James Heckman & Hidehiko Ichimura & Jeffrey Smith & Petra Todd, 1998. "Characterizing Selection Bias Using Experimental Data," NBER Working Papers 6699, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Richard Blundell & Monica Costa Dias & Costas Meghir & John Van Reenen, 2001. "Evaluating the employment impact of a mandatory job search assistance program," IFS Working Papers W01/20, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  6. Joshua D. Angrist & Guido W. Imbens, 1991. "Sources of Identifying Information in Evaluation Models," NBER Technical Working Papers 0117, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. 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.
  8. James J. Heckman, 1989. "Choosing Among Alternative Nonexperimental Methods for Estimating the Impact of Social Programs: The Case of Manpower Training," NBER Working Papers 2861, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Daniel Friedlander & David H. Greenberg & Philip K. Robins, 1997. "Evaluating Government Training Programs for the Economically Disadvantaged," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 35(4), pages 1809-1855, December.
  10. James Heckman & Jeffrey Smith & Christopher Taber, 1994. "Accounting for Dropouts in Evaluations of Social Experiments," NBER Technical Working Papers 0166, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. 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.
  12. Erich Battistin & Enrico Rettore, 2002. "Testing for programme effects in a regression discontinuity design with imperfect compliance," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 165(1), pages 39-57.
  13. 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.
  14. David S. Lee, 2001. "The Electoral Advantage to Incumbency and Voters' Valuation of Politicians' Experience: A Regression Discontinuity Analysis of Elections to the U.S..," NBER Working Papers 8441, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Hahn, Jinyong & Todd, Petra & Van der Klaauw, Wilbert, 2001. "Identification and Estimation of Treatment Effects with a Regression-Discontinuity Design," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(1), pages 201-09, January.
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