NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Regression Discontinuity Designs in Economics

David S. Lee, Thomas Lemieux

NBER Working Paper No. 14723
Issued in February 2009
NBER Program(s):   ED   LS

This paper provides an introduction and "user guide" to Regression Discontinuity (RD) designs for empirical researchers. It presents the basic theory behind the research design, details when RD is likely to be valid or invalid given economic incentives, explains why it is considered a "quasi-experimental" design, and summarizes different ways (with their advantages and disadvantages) of estimating RD designs and the limitations of interpreting these estimates. Concepts are discussed using examples drawn from the growing body of empirical research using RD.

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This paper was revised on December 5, 2011

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w14723

Published: 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.

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