Graphical Presentation of Regression Discontinuity Results

The Political Methodologist, 22(2):4-8, 2015

21 Pages Posted: 16 Jan 2015 Last revised: 31 Aug 2016

See all articles by Natalia Bueno

Natalia Bueno

Yale University, Department of Political Science, Students

Guadalupe Tuñón

University of California, Berkeley, College of Letters & Science, Charles and Louise Travers Department of Political Science, Students

Date Written: March 10, 2015

Abstract

During the last decade, an increasing number of political scientists have turned to regression-discontinuity (RD) designs to estimate causal effects. One of the key issues in RD designs involves selection of the window or bandwidth as results are often sensitive to their size. We propose a simple graphical way of reporting RD results that shows the sensitivity of estimates to a wide range of possible windows. The advantages of these plots over conventional ways of presenting RD results are threefold. First, they reduce the opportunities for the intentional or unintentional selection of windows that yield significant findings while also communicating the robustness of results to variations in window size. Second, they provide a simple visual comparison of how different estimators (difference-of-means, local linear, and polynomial regression models) perform as a function of different windows. Third, these plots can be used for placebo tests to examine the sensitivity of balance to different windows, reporting the magnitude of the difference between treatment and control and its confidence interval. We illustrate how a researcher can use these plots to present RD results in a transparent and systematic way with a regression discontinuity design examining incumbency advantage in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Keywords: Regression-Discontinuity Design, Graphical Presentation, Natural Experiment, Placebo Tests, Incumbency Advantage

JEL Classification: C90, C99, C14

Suggested Citation

Bueno, Natalia and Tuñón, Guadalupe, Graphical Presentation of Regression Discontinuity Results (March 10, 2015). The Political Methodologist, 22(2):4-8, 2015 . Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2549841 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2549841

Natalia Bueno (Contact Author)

Yale University, Department of Political Science, Students ( email )

New Haven, CT 06520
United States
2033618826 (Phone)

Guadalupe Tuñón

University of California, Berkeley, College of Letters & Science, Charles and Louise Travers Department of Political Science, Students ( email )

210 Barrows Hall
Berkeley, CA 94720
United States

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
173
Abstract Views
741
rank
173,297
PlumX Metrics