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2012 Methods Workshop: Analysis for Causal Inference With Cross-Sectional Data

  • January 2012
  • Event

T. Paul Schultz of Yale University led a workshop for researchers from 2-5:30 pm EDT on Jan. 18, 2012.

The goals of the methods workshop were to:

  • Introduce workshop participants to some of the limitations of correlation-based analyses in empirical studies.
  • Highlight the potential advantages of trying to infer causal relationships through the use of non-experimental techniques (e.g. instrumental variables, control functions, matching, discontinuities) for cross-sectional data.

Topics covered:

  • Causal inference in non-experimental studies using instrumental variables, and other identification methods.
  • The advantages of individual and family panel data and the limitations of attrition.
  • The advantages and disadvantages of reduced form versus structural estimation of causal models and drawing relevant policy inferences.
  • Specification, estimation, and inference in models that may include individual, community, and group effects.
  • The advantages and disadvantages of experimental versus non-experimental methods in inferring causality.
  • Resources:

    • T. Paul Schultz, “Population and Health Policies” IZA Discussion Paper, no. 4340 (2009), available at www.iza.org/en/webcontent/publications/papers/viewAbstract? dp_id=4340.
    • Germano Mwabu, “The Production of Child Health in Kenya: A Structural Model of Birth Weight,” Economic Growth Center Discussion Paper, no. 963 (2008), available at www.econ.yale.edu/growth_pdf/cdp963.pdf.
    • Marshall Burke, Erick Gong, and Kelly Jones, “Income Shocks and HIV,” 2011. (PDF: 453KB)
    • Kelly Jones, “Evaluating the Mexico City Policy: How International Aid Affects Fertility Outcomes in Ghana,” 2011. (PDF: 290KB)
    • Claus C. Pörtner, Kathleen Beegle, and Luc Christiaensen, “Family Planning and Fertility: Estimating Program Effects Using Cross-Sectional Data,” 2011. (PDF: 220KB)
    • Una Okonkwo Osili and Bridget Terry Long, “Does Female Schooling Reduce Fertility? Evidence from Nigeria,” Journal of Development Economics 87, no. 1 (2008): 57–75.
    • Petra Todd, “Evaluating Social Programs with Endogenous Program Placement and Selection of the Treated,” in Handbook of Development Economics, ed. T. Paul Schultz and John Strauss (Amsterdam: Elsevier, 2008): 3847-94.
    • Handout

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