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David S. Lee & Thomas Lemieux

In: The SAGE Handbook of Regression Analysis and Causal Inference

Chapter 14: Regression Discontinuity Designs in Social Sciences

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Regression Discontinuity Designs in Social Sciences
Regression discontinuity designs in social sciences
David S.Lee and ThomasLemieux*
Introduction

Regression discontinuity (RD) designs were initially introduced by Thistlethwaite and Campbell (1960) as a way of estimating treatment effects in a non-experimental setting where treatment is determined by whether an observed ‘assignment' variable (also referred to in the literature as the ‘forcing' variable or the ‘running' variable) exceeds a known cutoff point. Thistlethwaite and Campbell (1960) analyzed the impact of merit awards on future academic outcomes in their original study, using the fact that the allocation of these awards was based on an observed test score. The main idea behind the research design was that individuals with scores just below the cutoff (who did not receive the award) were good comparisons ...

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