Chris Blattman

A new guide to invoking causality

Just released through NBER, a new article by two giants of econometrics: Recent Developments in the Econometrics of Program Evaluation.

Many empirical questions in economics and other social sciences depend on causal effects of programs or policies. In the last two decades, much research has been done on the econometric and statistical analysis of the effects of such programs or treatments.

This recent theoretical literature has built on, and combined features of, earlier work in both the statistics and econometrics literatures. It has by now reached a level of maturity that makes it an important tool in many areas of empirical research in economics and suitable for a review. In this article we attempt to present such a review.

Guido Imbens and Jeffrey Wooldridge are not simply some of the best econometricians in the field, but write some of the most accessible work (at least from the perspective of non-econometrician economists).

If you consider yourself an empiricist, Wooldridge’s advanced textbook should be on your shelf. I find it the best of the breed.

Imbens also recently published a guide to regression discontinuity designs with Thomas Lemieux.

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