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Regression Discontinuity Designs: A Guide to Practice

37 Pages Posted: 18 Apr 2007 Last revised: 19 Aug 2010

Guido W. Imbens

Stanford Graduate School of Business

Thomas Lemieux

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

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Date Written: April 2007

Abstract

In Regression Discontinuity (RD) designs for evaluating causal effects of interventions, assignment to a treatment is determined at least partly by the value of an observed covariate lying on either side of a fixed threshold. These designs were first introduced in the evaluation literature by Thistlewaite and Campbell (1960). With the exception of a few unpublished theoretical papers, these methods did not attract much attention in the economics literature until recently. Starting in the late 1990s, there has been a large number of studies in economics applying and extending RD methods. In this paper we review some of the practical and theoretical issues involved in the implementation of RD methods.

Suggested Citation

Imbens, Guido W. and Lemieux, Thomas, Regression Discontinuity Designs: A Guide to Practice (April 2007). NBER Working Paper No. t0337. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=980422

Guido Imbens (Contact Author)

Stanford Graduate School of Business ( email )

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Thomas Lemieux

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

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Canada

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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