Regression Discontinuity Designs in Economics

111 Pages Posted: 17 Feb 2009 Last revised: 25 Sep 2010

See all articles by David Lee

David Lee

Princeton University

Thomas Lemieux

University of British Columbia (UBC) - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: February 2009

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

Lee, David and Lemieux, Thomas, Regression Discontinuity Designs in Economics (February 2009). NBER Working Paper No. w14723. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1344703

David Lee

Princeton University ( email )

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Princeton, NJ 08544-0708
United States

Thomas Lemieux (Contact Author)

University of British Columbia (UBC) - Department of Economics ( email )

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Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z1
Canada

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
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514-343-5831 (Fax)

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