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Regression Discontinuity Designs Based on Population Thresholds: Pitfalls and Solutions

Andrew C. Eggers (), Ronny Freier (), Veronica Grembi and Tommaso Nannicini ()
Additional contact information
Andrew C. Eggers: University of Oxford
Ronny Freier: DIW Berlin

No 9553, IZA Discussion Papers from Institute of Labor Economics (IZA)

Abstract: In many countries, important features of municipal government (such as the electoral system, mayors' salaries, and the number of councillors) depend on whether the municipality is above or below arbitrary population thresholds. Several papers have used a regression discontinuity design (RDD) to measure the effects of these threshold-based policies on political and economic outcomes. Using evidence from France, Germany, and Italy, we highlight two common pitfalls that arise in exploiting population-based policies (compound treatment and sorting) and we provide guidance for detecting and addressing these pitfalls. Even when these problems are present, population-threshold RDD may be the best available research design for studying the effects of certain policies and political institutions.

Keywords: difference-in-discontinuities; regression discontinuity design; population thresholds (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C21 D72 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 56 pages
Date: 2015-12
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Published in: American Journal of Political Science, 2018, 62 (1), 210-229

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Related works:
Journal Article: Regression Discontinuity Designs Based on Population Thresholds: Pitfalls and Solutions (2018) Downloads
Working Paper: Regression Discontinuity Designs Based on Population Thresholds: Pitfalls and Solutions (2015) Downloads
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