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Journal of Economic Literature: Vol. 48 No. 2 (June 2010)

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Regression Discontinuity Designs in Economics

Article Citation

Lee, David S., and Thomas Lemieux. 2010. "Regression Discontinuity Designs in Economics." Journal of Economic Literature, 48(2): 281-355.

DOI: 10.1257/jel.48.2.281

Abstract

This paper provides an introduction and "user guide" to Regression Discontinuity (RD) designs for empirical researchers. It presents the basic theory behind the research design, details when RD is likely to be valid or invalid given economic incentives, explains why it is considered a "quasi-experimental" design, and summarizes different ways (with their advantages and disadvantages) of estimating RD designs and the limitations of interpreting these estimates. Concepts are discussed using examples drawn from the growing body of empirical research using RD. ( JEL C21, C31)

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Authors

Lee, David S. (Princeton U)
Lemieux, Thomas (U British Columbia)

JEL Classifications

C21: Single Equation Models; Single Variables: Cross-Sectional Models; Spatial Models; Treatment Effect Models; Quantile Regressions
C31: Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models: Cross-Sectional Models; Spatial Models; Treatment Effect Models; Quantile Regressions


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