NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Regression Discontinuity Designs: A Guide to Practice

Guido Imbens, Thomas Lemieux

NBER Technical Working Paper No. 337
Issued in April 2007
NBER Program(s):   TWP

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 With the exception of a few unpublished theoretical papers, these methods did not attract much attention in the economics literature until recently.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.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/t0337

Published: Imbens, Guido and Thomas Lemieux. “Regression discontinuity designs: A guide to practice.” Journal of Econometrics 142, 2 (2008): 615-635.

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