NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Technical Aspects of Correspondence Studies

Joanna Lahey, Ryan Beasley

NBER Working Paper No. 22818
Issued in November 2016
NBER Program(s):AG, DEV, ED, LE, LS, PE, POL, TWP

This paper discusses technical concerns and choices that arise when crafting a correspondence or audit study using external validity as a motivating framework. We will discuss resume creation, including power analysis, choice of inputs, pros and cons of matching pairs, solutions to the limited template problem, and ensuring that instruments indicate what the experimenters want them to indicate. Further topics about implementation include when and for how long to field a study, deciding on a participant pool, and whether or not to use replacement from the participant pool. More technical topics include matching outcomes to inputs, data storage, and analysis issues such as when to use clustering, when not to use fixed effects, and how to measure heterogeneous and interactive effects. We end with a technical checklist that experimenters can utilize prior to fielding a correspondence study.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w22818

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