Regression Discontinuity Designs

Posted: 31 Aug 2022

Date Written: August 1, 2022


The regression discontinuity (RD) design is one of the most widely used nonexperimental methods for causal inference and program evaluation. Over the last two decades, statistical and econometric methods for RD analysis have expanded and matured, and there is now a large number of methodological results for RD identification, estimation, inference, and validation. We offer a curated review of this methodological literature organized around the two most popular frameworks for the analysis and interpretation of RD designs: the continuity framework and the local randomization framework. For each framework, we discuss three main topics: (a) designs and parameters, focusing on different types of RD settings and treatment effects of interest; (b) estimation and inference, presenting the most popular methods based on local polynomial regression and methods for the analysis of experiments, as well as refinements, extensions, and alternatives; and (c) validation and falsification, summarizing an array of mostly empirical approaches to support the validity of RD designs in practice.

Suggested Citation

Cattaneo, Matias D. and Titiunik, Rocío, Regression Discontinuity Designs (August 1, 2022). Annual Review of Economics, Vol. 14, pp. 821-851, 2022, Available at SSRN: or

Matias D. Cattaneo

Princeton University ( email )

Princeton, NJ 08544
United States

Rocío Titiunik (Contact Author)

Princeton University ( email )

Do you have negative results from your research you’d like to share?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics