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Design-based Analysis in Difference-In-Differences Settings with Staggered Adoption

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  • Susan Athey
  • Guido W. Imbens

Abstract

In this paper we study estimation of and inference for average treatment effects in a setting with panel data. We focus on the setting where units, e.g., individuals, firms, or states, adopt the policy or treatment of interest at a particular point in time, and then remain exposed to this treatment at all times afterwards. We take a design perspective where we investigate the properties of estimators and procedures given assumptions on the assignment process. We show that under random assignment of the adoption date the standard Difference-In-Differences estimator is an unbiased estimator of a particular weighted average causal effect. We characterize the properties of this estimand, and show that the standard variance estimator is conservative.

Suggested Citation

  • Susan Athey & Guido W. Imbens, 2018. "Design-based Analysis in Difference-In-Differences Settings with Staggered Adoption," NBER Working Papers 24963, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:24963
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C01 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - General - - - Econometrics
    • C23 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Models with Panel Data; Spatio-temporal Models
    • C31 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Cross-Sectional Models; Spatial Models; Treatment Effect Models; Quantile Regressions; Social Interaction Models

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