Causal Inference

(PSC 504, Spring 2013)

Substantive questions in empirical social science research are often causal. Does voter outreach increase turnout? Do political institutions affect economic development? Are job training programs effective? This class will introduce students to both the theory and the practice behind making these kinds of causal inferences. We will cover causal identification, potential outcomes, experiments, matching, regression, difference-in-differences, instrumental variables estimation, regression discontinuity designs, sensitivity analysis, dynamic causal inference, and more. The course will draw upon examples from political science, economics, sociology, public health, and public policy. Taught with R, with a mix of lectures, discussion, and in-class computing.

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