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An evaluation of the performance of regression discontinuity design on PROGRESA

  • Buddelmeyer, Hielke
  • Skoufias, Emmanuel

While providing the most reliable method of evaluating social programs, randomized experiments in developing and developed countries alike are accompanied by political risks and ethical issues that jeopardize the chances of adopting them. In this paper the authors use a unique data set from rural Mexico collected for the purposes of evaluating the impact of the PROGRESA poverty alleviation program to examine the performance of a quasi-experimental estimator, the Regression Discontinuity Design (RDD). Using as a benchmark the impact estimates based on the experimental nature of the sample, we examine how estimates differ when we use the RDD as the estimator for evaluating program impact on two key indicators: child school attendance and child work. Overall the performance of the RDD was remarkably good. The RDD estimates of program impact agreed with the experimental estimates in 10 out of the 12 possible cases. The two cases in which the RDD method failed to reveal any significant program impact on the school attendance of boys and girls were in the first year of the program (round 3). RDD estimates comparable to the experimental estimates were obtained when we used as a comparison group children from non-eligible households in the control localities.

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Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 3386.

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Date of creation: 01 Sep 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:3386
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  1. Schultz, T. Paul, 2001. "School subsidies for the poor," FCND discussion papers 102, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  2. Paul Schultz, T., 2004. "School subsidies for the poor: evaluating the Mexican Progresa poverty program," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 74(1), pages 199-250, June.
  3. Rajeev H. Dehejia & Sadek Wahba, 2002. "Propensity Score-Matching Methods For Nonexperimental Causal Studies," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 84(1), pages 151-161, February.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Emmanuel Skoufias & Susan Wendy Parker, 2001. "Conditional Cash Transfers and Their Impact on Child Work and Schooling: Evidence from the PROGRESA Program in Mexico," ECONOMIA JOURNAL OF THE LATIN AMERICAN AND CARIBBEAN ECONOMIC ASSOCIATION, ECONOMIA JOURNAL OF THE LATIN AMERICAN AND CARIBBEAN ECONOMIC ASSOCIATION, vol. 0(Fall 2001), pages 45-96, August.
  9. Behrman, Jere R. & Deolalikar, Anil B., 1988. "Health and nutrition," Handbook of Development Economics, in: Hollis Chenery & T.N. Srinivasan (ed.), Handbook of Development Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 14, pages 631-711 Elsevier.
  10. Judy L. Baker, 2000. "Evaluating the Impact of Development Projects on Poverty : A Handbook for Practitioners," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 13949.
  11. Petra E. Todd & Jeffrey A. Smith, 2001. "Reconciling Conflicting Evidence on the Performance of Propensity-Score Matching Methods," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(2), pages 112-118, May.
  12. repec:oup:restud:v:64:y:1997:i:4:p:605-54 is not listed on IDEAS
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