IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Running and Jumping Variables in RD Designs

  • Alan Barreca


  • Melanie Guldi


  • Jason M. Lindo


  • Glen R. Waddell


    (Department of Economics, Tulane University)

This study demonstrates that regression discontinuity designs will arrive at biased estimates when attributes related to outcomes predict heaping in the running variable. We discuss several approaches to diagnosing and correcting for this type of problem. Our primary example focuses on the use of birth weights as a running variable. We begin by showing that birth weights are measured most precisely for children of white and highly educated mothers. As a result, less healthy children, who are more likely to be of low socioeconomic status, are disproportionately represented at multiples of round numbers. For this reason, RD estimates using birth weight as the running variable will be biased in a manner that leads one to conclude that it is "good" to be strictly less than any 100-gram cutoff. As such, prior estimates of the effects of very low birth weight classification (Almond, Doyle, Kowalski, and Williams 2010) have been overstated and appear to be zero. We also demonstrate potential problems using days of birth or grade point averages as running variables.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
File Function: First version, 2010
Download Restriction: no

File URL:
File Function: Revised version, 2011
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Tulane University, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 1001.

in new window

Length: 46 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:tul:wpaper:1001
Contact details of provider: Postal: 206 Tilton Hall, New Orleans, LA 70118
Phone: (504) 865-5321
Fax: (504) 865-5869
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

No references listed on IDEAS
You can help add them by filling out this form.

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:tul:wpaper:1001. 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: (Sean Higgins)

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 references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link 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 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.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.