Dif-in-Dif Estimators of Multiplicative Treatment Effects

59 Pages Posted: 18 Feb 2015

Date Written: October 23, 2014


We consider a difference-in-differences setting with a continuous outcome, such as wages or expenditure. The standard practice is to take the logarithm of the outcome and then interpret the results as an approximation of the multiplicative treatment effect on the original outcome. We argue that a researcher should instead focus on the original outcome when discussing causal inference. Furthermore, it is preferable to use a non-linear estimator, because running OLS on the log-linearised model might confound distributional and mean changes. We illustrate the argument with an original empirical analysis of the impact of the UK Educational Maintenance Allowance on households' expenditure, and with a simulation exercise.

Keywords: difference-in-differences, log-linearisation, Poisson Pseudo Maximum Likelihood

JEL Classification: C21, C51, I38

Suggested Citation

Ciani, Emanuele and Fisher, Paul, Dif-in-Dif Estimators of Multiplicative Treatment Effects (October 23, 2014). Bank of Italy Temi di Discussione (Working Paper) No. 985, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2566252 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2566252

Emanuele Ciani (Contact Author)

Bank of Italy ( email )

Via Nazionale 91
Rome, 00184

Paul Fisher

Bank of England ( email )

Threadneedle Street
London, EC2R 8AH
United Kingdom

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