Causal effects of policy interventions


Materials for a one-day workshop on causal effects of policy interventions.

Workshop estimating causal effects of policy interventions

This webpage contains all the materials for a one-day workshop on causal impact assessment. The materials on this website are CC-BY-4.0 licensed.

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Course objectives

How do we assess whether a school policy intervention has had the desired effect on student performance? How do we estimate the impact a natural disaster has had on the inhabitants of affected regions? How can we determine whether a change in the maximum speed on highways has lead to fewer accidents? These types of questions are at the core of many social scientific research problems. While questions with this structure are seemingly simple, their causal effects are notoriously hard to estimate, because often we cannot perform a randomized controlled experiment.

In this course, we will deal with several advanced methods for answering such questions, with a dual focus:

At the end of this workshop, participants have a firm grasp of the basics and limits of causal impact assessment, as well as the skills to start applying these methods in their own work.


We assume the following:

Workshop schedule & materials

Time Duration Activity Content link
09:00 45 Lecture Introduction + pre-post + DiD intro.pdf
09:45 15 Practical Setup + data intro intro.html
10:00 25 Lecture Pre-post + DiD  
10:25 20 Practical Pre-post + DiD  
10:45 15 Break    
11:00 30 Lecture Interrupted time series (+RDD) its.pdf
11:30 30 Practical Interrupted time series (+RDD) its.html
12:00 60 Lunch    
13:00 45 Lecture Synthetic control synthetic_control.pdf
13:45 45 Practical Synthetic control synthetic_control.html
14:30 15 Break    
14:45 45 Lecture (synthetic) CITS and CausalImpact causal_impact.pdf
15:30 45 Practical (synthetic) CITS and CausalImpact causal_impact.html
16:15 15 Break    
16:30 30 Discussion Conclusion + open questions discussion.pdf
17:00   End    

You can download the dataset we have prepared from here: proposition99.rds. Save it in a nicely accessible place, we will be using it in every practical.


This project is developed and maintained by the ODISSEI Social Data Science (SoDa) team.

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For questions about this course, you can contact us at, or you can contact the instructors Erik-Jan ( or Oisín ( directly.

Course logo created by Nithinan Tatah from Noun Project