IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/nbr/nberwo/13039.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Regression Discontinuity Designs: A Guide to Practice

Author

Listed:
  • Guido Imbens
  • Thomas Lemieux

Abstract

In Regression Discontinuity (RD) designs for evaluating causal effects of interventions, assignment to a treatment is determined at least partly by the value of an observed covariate lying on either side of a fixed threshold. These designs were first introduced in the evaluation literature by Thistlewaite and Campbell (1960). With the exception of a few unpublished theoretical papers, these methods did not attract much attention in the economics literature until recently. Starting in the late 1990s, there has been a large number of studies in economics applying and extending RD methods. In this paper we review some of the practical and theoretical issues involved in the implementation of RD methods.

Suggested Citation

  • Guido Imbens & Thomas Lemieux, 2007. "Regression Discontinuity Designs: A Guide to Practice," NBER Working Papers 13039, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:13039
    Note: CH ED LS
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w13039.pdf
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. David Card & Carlos Dobkin & Nicole Maestas, 2004. "The Impact of Nearly Universal Insurance Coverage on Health Care Utilization and Health Evidence from Medicare," Working Papers WR-197, RAND Corporation.
    2. Lalive, Rafael, 2008. "How do extended benefits affect unemployment duration A regression discontinuity approach," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 142(2), pages 785-806, February.
    3. Sandra E. Black, 1999. "Do Better Schools Matter? Parental Valuation of Elementary Education," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(2), pages 577-599.
    4. Imbens, Guido & van der Klaauw, Wilbert, 1995. "Evaluating the Cost of Conscription in The Netherlands," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 13(2), pages 207-215, April.
    5. Pagan,Adrian & Ullah,Aman, 1999. "Nonparametric Econometrics," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521355643, December.
    6. David Card & Alexandre Mas & Jesse Rothstein, 2008. "Tipping and the Dynamics of Segregation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 123(1), pages 177-218.
    7. Brian A. Jacob & Lars Lefgren, 2004. "Remedial Education and Student Achievement: A Regression-Discontinuity Analysis," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 86(1), pages 226-244, February.
    8. Kenneth Y. Chay & Patrick J. McEwan & Miguel Urquiola, 2005. "The Central Role of Noise in Evaluating Interventions That Use Test Scores to Rank Schools," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(4), pages 1237-1258, September.
    9. Jens Ludwig & Douglas L. Miller, 2007. "Does Head Start Improve Children's Life Chances? Evidence from a Regression Discontinuity Design," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 122(1), pages 159-208.
    10. Hardle, Wolfgang & Linton, Oliver, 1986. "Applied nonparametric methods," Handbook of Econometrics, in: R. F. Engle & D. McFadden (ed.), Handbook of Econometrics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 38, pages 2295-2339, Elsevier.
    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. Lemieux, Thomas & Milligan, Kevin, 2008. "Incentive effects of social assistance: A regression discontinuity approach," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 142(2), pages 807-828, February.
    13. Kenneth Y. Chay & Michael Greenstone, 2005. "Does Air Quality Matter? Evidence from the Housing Market," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(2), pages 376-424, April.
    14. David S. Lee & Enrico Moretti & Matthew J. Butler, 2004. "Do Voters Affect or Elect Policies? Evidence from the U. S. House," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 119(3), pages 807-859.
    15. Imbens, Guido W & Angrist, Joshua D, 1994. "Identification and Estimation of Local Average Treatment Effects," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(2), pages 467-475, March.
    16. David Card & Carlos Dobkin & Nicole Maestas, 2004. "The Impact of Nearly Universal Insurance Coverage on Health Care Utilization and Health: Evidence from Medicare," NBER Working Papers 10365, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    17. Guido W. Imbens & Jeffrey M. Wooldridge, 2009. "Recent Developments in the Econometrics of Program Evaluation," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 47(1), pages 5-86, March.
    18. 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.
    19. Jeffrey Racine, 2008. "Nonparametric econometrics: a primer (in Russian)," Quantile, Quantile, issue 4, pages 7-56, March.
    20. Guido W. Imbens, 2004. "Nonparametric Estimation of Average Treatment Effects Under Exogeneity: A Review," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 86(1), pages 4-29, February.
    21. Lee, David S. & Card, David, 2008. "Regression discontinuity inference with specification error," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 142(2), pages 655-674, February.
    22. Lalive, Rafael, 2008. "How do extended benefits affect unemployment duration A regression discontinuity approach," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 142(2), pages 785-806, February.
    23. Joshua D. Angrist & Alan B. Keueger, 1991. "Does Compulsory School Attendance Affect Schooling and Earnings?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 106(4), pages 979-1014.
    24. Racine, Jeffrey S., 2008. "Nonparametric Econometrics: A Primer," Foundations and Trends(R) in Econometrics, now publishers, vol. 3(1), pages 1-88, March.
    25. Patrick J. McEwan & Joseph S. Shapiro, 2008. "The Benefits of Delayed Primary School Enrollment: Discontinuity Estimates Using Exact Birth Dates," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 43(1).
    26. 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.
    27. Yixiao Sun, 2005. "Adaptive Estimation of the Regression Discontinuity Model," Econometrics 0506003, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    28. 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 201-209, January.
    29. Hardle, Wolfgang & Linton, Oliver, 1986. "Applied nonparametric methods," Handbook of Econometrics, in: R. F. Engle & D. McFadden (ed.), Handbook of Econometrics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 38, pages 2295-2339, Elsevier.
    30. David Card & Alexandre Mas & Jesse Rothstein, 2006. "Tipping and the Dynamics of Segregation in Neighborhoods and Schools," Working Papers 894, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
    31. Matsudaira, Jordan D., 2008. "Mandatory summer school and student achievement," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 142(2), pages 829-850, February.
    32. J.D. Angrist & Guido W. Imbens & D.B. Rubin, 1993. "Identification of Causal Effects Using Instrumental Variables," NBER Technical Working Papers 0136, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    33. Joshua D. Angrist & Victor Lavy, 1999. "Using Maimonides' Rule to Estimate the Effect of Class Size on Scholastic Achievement," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(2), pages 533-575.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Guido W. Imbens & Jeffrey M. Wooldridge, 2009. "Recent Developments in the Econometrics of Program Evaluation," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 47(1), pages 5-86, March.
    2. David S. Lee & Thomas Lemieux, 2010. "Regression Discontinuity Designs in Economics," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 48(2), pages 281-355, June.
    3. Frandsen, Brigham R. & Frölich, Markus & Melly, Blaise, 2012. "Quantile treatment effects in the regression discontinuity design," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 168(2), pages 382-395.
    4. David S. Lee & Thomas Lemieux, 2009. "Regression Discontinuity Designs In Economics," Working Papers 1118, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
    5. Bauer, Thomas K. & Bender, Stefan & Paloyo, Alfredo R. & Schmidt, Christoph M., 2012. "Evaluating the labor-market effects of compulsory military service," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 56(4), pages 814-829.
    6. Blaise Melly & Rafael Lalive, 2020. "Estimation, Inference, and Interpretation in the Regression Discontinuity Design," Diskussionsschriften dp2016, Universitaet Bern, Departement Volkswirtschaft.
    7. Marinho Bertanha & Guido W. Imbens, 2020. "External Validity in Fuzzy Regression Discontinuity Designs," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 38(3), pages 593-612, July.
    8. Susan Athey & Guido W. Imbens, 2017. "The State of Applied Econometrics: Causality and Policy Evaluation," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 31(2), pages 3-32, Spring.
    9. Mauricio Villamizar-Villegas & Freddy A. Pinzón-Puerto & María Alejandra Ruiz-Sánchez, 2020. "A Comprehensive History of Regression Discontinuity Designs: An Empirical Survey of the last 60 Years," Borradores de Economia 1112, Banco de la Republica de Colombia.
    10. Jin-young Choi & Myoung-jae Lee, 2017. "Regression discontinuity: review with extensions," Statistical Papers, Springer, vol. 58(4), pages 1217-1246, December.
    11. Guido Imbens & Stefan Wager, 2019. "Optimized Regression Discontinuity Designs," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 101(2), pages 264-278, May.
    12. Frölich, Markus, 2007. "Regression Discontinuity Design with Covariates," IZA Discussion Papers 3024, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    13. Del Bono, Emilia & Francesconi, Marco & Best, Nicky G., 2011. "Health information and health outcomes: an application of the regression discontinuity design to the 1995 UK contraceptive pill scare case," ISER Working Paper Series 2011-16, Institute for Social and Economic Research.
    14. Mazzutti, Caio Cícero Toledo Piza da Costa, 2016. "Three essays on the causal impacts of child labour laws in Brazil," Economics PhD Theses 0616, Department of Economics, University of Sussex Business School.
    15. Deng, Taotao & Hu, Yukun & Ma, Mulan, 2019. "Regional policy and tourism: A quasi-natural experiment," Annals of Tourism Research, Elsevier, vol. 74(C), pages 1-16.
    16. McCrary, Justin, 2008. "Manipulation of the running variable in the regression discontinuity design: A density test," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 142(2), pages 698-714, February.
    17. Del Bono, Emilia & Francesconi, Marco & Best, Nicky G., 2011. "Health information and health outcomes: an application of the regression discontinuity design to the 1995 UK contraceptive pill scare case," ISER Working Paper Series 2011-16, Institute for Social and Economic Research.
    18. Justin McCrary, 2007. "Manipulation of the Running Variable in the Regression Discontinuity Design: A Density Test," NBER Technical Working Papers 0334, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    19. Greenstone, Michael & Gayer, Ted, 2009. "Quasi-experimental and experimental approaches to environmental economics," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 57(1), pages 21-44, January.
    20. Ou, Dongshu, 2010. "To leave or not to leave? A regression discontinuity analysis of the impact of failing the high school exit exam," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 29(2), pages 171-186, April.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C14 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Semiparametric and Nonparametric Methods: General
    • C21 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Cross-Sectional Models; Spatial Models; Treatment Effect Models

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:13039. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/nberrus.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.