DGPE PhD course: Causal Inference without Experiments

27 November 2018. Lecturer: Gordon Dahl

2018.11.13 | Susanne Christensen

Date Tue 27 Nov
Time 09:00 16:45
Location Aarhus BSS, Aarhus University, Fuglesangs Allé 4, 8210 Aarhus V, building 2636, room U214

Course description

This course will discuss various strategies for obtaining causal estimates without an experiment, with empirical examples from a variety of fields.  Methods which allow for selection on observables as well as selection on unobservables will be covered.  The course will explore the pros and cons of using methods such as panel data, social experiments, matching, regression discontinuity, register data, and instrumental variables to arrive at causal estimates.  It will not concentrate on the formal derivation of estimators, but rather on the assumptions and properties of various approaches and how to implement them.  An emphasis will be placed on current best practices, with empirical examples ranging from the evaluation of social safety net programs, to the effect of educational policy reforms, to the identification of peer effects in networks.  The goal is to provide a practical guide to the key advantages and disadvantages of each approach.

The course is equivalent to 1 ECTS point.


Gordon B. Dahl is Professor of Economics at the University of California, San Diego. He is also affiliated with the National Bureau of Economic Research, the Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA), CESifo, the Norwegian School of Economics (NHH), and the Stanford Center for the Study of Poverty and Inequality. He received his Ph.D. from Princeton University in 1998. Dahl's research interests are in labor economics and applied microeconomics, including a wide set of issues that range from how income affects child achievement, to peer effects among coworkers and family members, to the impact of incarceration on recidivism and employment, to intergenerational links in welfare use. 


9.00-11.30: Lecture 1 (incl. short break)

11.30-12.30: Lunch

12.30-14.00: Lecture 2 (incl. short break)

14.00-14.15: Break

14.15-15:15: Student presentation session, 2-3 students

15:15-15:45: Coffee

15.45-16.45: Student presentation session, 2-3 students

19.00: Course dinner, Restaurant Den Rustikke, Mejlgade 20, 8000 Aarhus C.

Presentation slot

As part of the course, there will be two hours allocated to student presentation sessions. To sign up for a student presentation slot, please write an email to Maria Knoth Humlum, mhumlum@econ.au.dk, before November 22. If relevant, slots are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.


Please sign up for this course no later than 22 November to Susanne Christensen, sch@econ.au.dk

The course is free of charge for:

1. DGPE members from AU, KU, CBS, SDU.

2. PhD students from Economics Departments at Nordic universities outside Denmark.

The course fee is EUR100 for other participants.


Associate Professor Maria Knoth Humlum, mhumlum@econ.au.dk

DGPE Courses
14304 / i32