Duke University Political Science

2014 Advanced Causal Inference Workshop

We would like to invite you to attend our second "advanced" workshop on Research Design for Causal Inference. The workshop builds on our "main" workshop. The workshop is sponsored by Northwestern Law School, the Center for the Study of Democracy and the Rule of Law at Duke Law School, and the Society for Empirical Legal Studies.

Wednesday-Friday, August 13-15, 2014, at Duke University School of Law, Durham, NC

Our regular "Main" Workshop on Research Design for Causal Inference will be held this year on July 7-11, 2014, at Northwestern Law School.

Teaching Faculty and Organizers | Registration | Workshop Schedule | Workshop Readings (login required) | Hotels

Workshop Overview

The advanced causal inference workshop seeks to provide an in-depth discussion of selected topics that are beyond what we can cover in the main workshop.  Principal topics for 2014 include:  Day 1:  Choosing estimands (the science), and how choice of estimand affects research design.  Principal stratification methods (a little known, but very powerful extension of the always taker/never-taker/complier/defier categories developed in “causal IV”); advanced matching methods; multiple imputation of missing potential outcomes.  Day 2:  Simulation studies; bootstrap methods; advanced topics in regression discontinuity design.  Day 3:  Causal inference with panel data. Topics will include  handling treatment heterogeneity, handling time dynamics, synthetic controls, marginal structural models, and standard errors.

Target Audience for Advanced Workshop

Our target audience is empirical researchers who are reasonably familiar with the basics of causal inference (from our main workshop or otherwise), and want to extend their knowledge.  We will assume familiarity with the potential outcomes notation, randomization inference, difference-in-differences, regression discontinuity, panel data, and instrumental variable designs, but will not assume expertise in any of these areas.

Teaching Faculty

We are fortunate to have recruited outstanding experts in causal research design to teach the workshop sessions.

  • Donald B. Rubin (Harvard University)
    John L. Loeb Professor of Statistics, Harvard University. His work on what today is often called the "Rubin Causal Model" is central to modern understanding of when one can and cannot infer causation from regression. Principal research interests: statistical methods for causal inference; Bayesian statistics; analysis of incomplete data. Wikipedia
  • Jonathan N. Katz (California Institute of Technology)
    Katz is Kay Sugahara Professor of Social Sciences and Statistics at Caltech.  Co-editor:  Political Analysis.  Principal research interests: American  politics, political methodology; formal political theory.  Web page with link to CV:  Web page with link to CV:  http://jkatz.caltech.edu/.
  • Justin McCrary (University of California, Berkeley, Law School)
    Professor of Law, University of California, Berkeley. Principal research interests: crime and urban problems, law and economics, corporations, employment discrimination, and empirical legal studies. Papers on SSRN

Conference Organizers

  • Bernard Black (Northwestern University, Law and Kellogg School of Management)
    Nicholas J. Chabraja Professor at Northwestern University, with positions in the Law School and Kellogg School of Management. Principal research interests: law and finance, international corporate governance, health law and policy; empirical legal studies. Papers on SSRN
  • Mathew McCubbins (Duke University)
    Professor of Political Science and Law at Duke University, with positions in the Law School and the Political Science Department, and director of the Center for Law and Democracy.  Principal research interests: democratic institutions, legislative organization; behavioral experiments, communication, learning and decisionmaking; statutory interpretation, administrative procedure, research design; network economics.  Papers on SSRN

Registration and Workshop Cost
To Register please click here

Registration deadline: August 1, 2014.
You can cancel on or before June 30 2014 for a 100% refund,  July 14, 2014 for a 75% refund, and by August 1, 2014, for a 50% refund (in each case, less credit card processing fee), but there are no refunds after that.

Tuition is $550; with a discounted rate of $350 for graduate students (PhD, SJD, or law) and post-doctoral fellows. The workshop fee includes all materials, a temporary Stata13 license, breakfast, lunch, snacks, and Wednesday evening reception. These amounts will increase by $50 on June 30, 2014.

For Northwestern or Duke attendees, tuition is $200 (basically our marginal cost for meals and incidental expenses).

We know the workshops are not cheap.  We use the funds to pay our speakers and for meals and other expenses; we don’t pay ourselves.

Workshop Schedule

Wednesday August 13 (Don Rubin)
Choosing estimands (the science).  Implications of choice of estimand for choice of method.  Principal stratification.  Flexible matching methods.  Multiple imputation of missing potential outcomes.  And whatever else Don thinks he should cover, in the allotted time.

Thursday August 14 (Justin McCrary)
Conducting simulation studies.  Inference and testing using the bootstrap, including adapting bootstrap methods to your research design.  Topics in regression discontinuity design:  nonparametric estimation; Local linear regression and density estimation; choosing bandwidth and assessing sensitivity to bandwidth choice.

Friday August 14 (Jonathan Katz)
Topics in causal inference with panel data, including time-series-cross-sectional (TSCS) data. Topics will include issues of unit heterogeneity, specification of dynamics, synthetic matching, and marginal structural models, and which standard errors to use. 

Lunch talk:  Advice from a journal editor on what to do (and not do) (Jonathan Katz is the editor of Political Methodology).


Please click here to reserve a hotel room at the Hilton Garden Inn.

Sessions will be held at Duke Law School, about a mile walk from the Hilton.

Questions about the workshop
Please email Bernie Black or Mat McCubbins  for substantive questions or fee waiver requests, and Michael Cooper for logistics and registration.


Register for the Main Workshop here.

Register for the Advanced Workshop here.

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