Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10419/119320
Authors: 
Eggers, Andrew C.
Freier, Ronny
Grembi, Veronica
Nannicini, Tommaso
Year of Publication: 
2015
Series/Report no.: 
DIW Discussion Papers 1503
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 (confounded 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.
Subjects: 
regression discontinuity design
causal inference
sorting
population thresholds
institutional design
JEL: 
H10
H19
H70
H77
Document Type: 
Working Paper

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