Using Difference-in-Differences to Identify Causal Effects of COVID-19 Policies

10 Pages Posted: 18 May 2020

See all articles by Andrew Goodman-Bacon

Andrew Goodman-Bacon

Vanderbilt University - College of Arts and Science - Department of Economics

Jan Marcus

University of Hamburg; German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin)

Date Written: May 2020

Abstract

Policymakers have implemented a wide range of non-pharmaceutical interventions to fight the spread of COVID-19. Variation in policies across jurisdictions and over time strongly suggests a difference-in-differences (DD) research design to estimate causal effects of counter-COVID measures. We discuss threats to the validity of these DD designs and make recommendations about how researchers can avoid bias, interpret results accurately, and provide sound guidance to policymakers seeking to protect public health and facilitate an eventual economic recovery.

Keywords: Difference-in-differences, non-pharmaceutical interventions, COVID-19, causal inference

JEL Classification: C1,I18

Suggested Citation

Goodman-Bacon, Andrew and Marcus, Jan, Using Difference-in-Differences to Identify Causal Effects of COVID-19 Policies (May 2020). DIW Berlin Discussion Paper No. 1870, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3603970 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3603970

Andrew Goodman-Bacon

Vanderbilt University - College of Arts and Science - Department of Economics ( email )

Box 1819 Station B
Nashville, TN 37235
United States

Jan Marcus (Contact Author)

University of Hamburg ( email )

Allende-Platz 1
Hamburg, 20146
Germany

German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin) ( email )

Mohrenstraße 58
Berlin, 10117
Germany
+49(0)3089789308 (Phone)

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