Course

Advanced Causal Inference - 4 ECTS

We, as human beings, tend to attribute cause and effect to observations quite quickly, even if such a causal relationship does not really exist. Causal inference is the science of the study of causal relationships and gives us tools to study rigorously if an intervention, action, or treatment actually casually determines a certain outcome.

Organised by Wageningen School of Social Sciences (WASS)
Date

Mon 10 May 2021 until Fri 2 July 2021

Duration Registration deadline: 26 April 2021
Room Online

Introduction

Causal inference is required to answer questions such as “What is the impact of social distancing on the spread of COVID-19?”, “What is the effect of minimum wages on employment?”, or “To what extent do increases in food prices increase conflict?” In this “Advanced Causal Inference” course five development economists from both Wageningen University (WUR) and Utrecht University (UU), will teach state-of-the-art causal inference methods for both experimental and quasi-experimental designs, and help students to apply these to their own research designs.

Learning objectives
After successful completion of this course, participants are expected to be able to:

  1. Use economic theory to design a (quasi) experiment

  2. Apply and evaluate statistical techniques in terms of valid causal inference
  3. Appraise various experimental design choices
  4. Appraise various quasi-experimental methods
  5. Write a pre-analysis plan including power analysis

Course entry requirements

● DEC-32806 Impact Assessment of Policies and Programmes at WUR or ECRMRS1 Econometric Methods 1 at UU or a similar course at another university, and
● YSS-34306 Advanced Econometrics at WUR or ECRMRS1 Econometric methods 2 + Research skills: Data handling at UU or a similar course at another university, and
● Being able to program in Stata.
An indivudual intake will be part of the registration procedure.

Activities

● Lectures: The course material will be discussed in twelve interactive lectures.
● Assignments: Students will replicate some empirical results from highly-cited papers by implementing estimation procedures in Stata.
● Research design: Students work on their own research idea, which will result in a research design and a pre-analysis plan.

Feedback

● Question hours to discuss progress with Stata assignments.
● Each Friday, Q&A to help students apply the material of the week in their own research design.
● Students will receive feedback on their research design from one of the teachers for further improvement after the course.

Examination

The student needs to pass each:
A. Assignments (pass/fail grading)
B. Research design (pass/fail grading)
C. Written exam with open questions (minimum 5.5 to pass)

Tentative schedule

Week 1: From theory to design
10 May 14.00 hrs Lecture 1 Karlijn
12 May 14.00 hrs Lecture 2 Karlijn
12 May 16.00 hrs Q&A Karlijn
Week 2: Causal inference in rondomized experiments
17 May 14.00 hrs Lecture 3 Mark
18 May 12.00-13.00, 16.00-17.00 Stata assignment and question hours Mark
19 May 14.00 hrs Lecture 4 Mark, Maarten
20 May 12.00-13.00, 16.00-17.00 Stata assignment and question hours Mark
21 May 14.00 hrs Q&A Mark
Week 3: Avanced randomized designs
25 May 11.00 hrs Lecture 5 Maarten
27 May 11.00 hrs Lecture 6 Maarten
28 May 14.00 hrs Q&A Maarten, Mark
Week 4: Quasi-experimental methods I
31 May 14.00 hrs Lecture 9 Elena
2 June 14.00 hrs Lecture 10 Mark
4 June 14.00 hrs Q&A Elena, Mark
Week 5: Quasi-experimental methods II
7 June 14.00 hrs Lecture 7 Robert
9 June 14.00 hrs Lecture 8 Robert
11 June 14.00 hrs Q&A Robert
Week 6: Power, ethics, and pre-analysis plans
14 June 14.00 hrs Lecture 9 Maarten
16 June 14.00 hrs Lecture 10 Karlijn, Maarten
17 June 14.00 hrs Q&A Maarten, Karlijn
Week 7: Exam
25 June 14.00 hrs
Week 8: Hand-in research design
2 July 14.00 hrs

Please find more programme details and readings in the course outline.

Course fee 

WGS PhDs with TSP € 325
a) All other PhD candidates b) Postdocs and staff of the above mentioned Graduate Schools € 650
All others € 975

Cancellation conditions:

The participants can cancel their registration free of charge 1 month before the course starts. A cancellation fee of 100% applies if a participant cancels his/her registration less than 1 month prior to the start of the course.

The organisers have the right to cancel the course no later than one month before the planned course start date in the case that the number of registrations does not reach the minimum.

The participants will be notified of any changes at their e-mail addresses.