Research Design for Causal Inference – Chicago, IL

Written by OSULEGALSCHOLARSHIP   // February 20, 2013   // Comments Off


Northwestern University, the University of Southern California, and the Society for Empirical Legal Studies will host Research Design for Causal Inference June 24-28, 2013, at Northwestern Law School, in Chicago, Illinois.

An Advanced Workshop on Research Design for Causal Inference will be held this year on August 12-14, 2013.

Registration is limited to 100 participants. Registration deadline: June 10, 2013. im

Research design for causal inference is at the heart of a “credibility revolution” in empirical research. We will cover the design of true randomized experiments and contrast them to simulations and quasi-experiments, where part of the sample is “treated” in some way, and the remainder is a control group, but the researcher controls neither the assignment of cases to treatment and control groups nor administration of the treatment. We will assess the kinds of causal inferences one can and cannot draw from a research design, threats to valid inference, and research designs that can mitigate those threats.

Most empirical methods courses begin with the methods. They survey how each method works, and what assumptions each relies on. We will begin instead with the goal of causal inference, and discuss how to design research to come closer to that goal. The methods reflect the goal and are often adapted to the needs of a particular study. Some of the methods we will discuss are covered in PhD programs, but rarely in depth, and rarely with a focus on causal inference and on which methods to prefer for messy, real-world datasets with limited sample sizes.

Each day will conclude with a Stata “workshop” where we will illustrate selected methods with real data and Stata code.

Target audience Quantitative empirical researchers (faculty and graduate students) in social science, including law, political science, economics, many business-school areas (finance, accounting, management, marketing, etc), sociology, education, psychology, etc. – indeed anywhere that causal inference is important.

Minimum prior knowledge We will assume knowledge, at the level of an upper-level college econometrics or applied statistics course, of how to run multivariate regressions, including OLS, logit, and probit; familiarity with basic probability and statistics including conditional and compound probabilities, confidence intervals, t-statistics, and standard errors; and some understanding of instrumental variables.

Despite its modest prerequisites, this course should be suitable for most researchers with PhD level training and for empirical legal scholars with reasonable but more limited training. For recent PhD’s, there will be overlap with what you already know, but much that you don’t know, or don’t know as well as you should.

Tuition is $850; with a discounted rate of $500 for graduate students (PhD, SJD, or law) and post-doctoral fellows.  The workshop fee includes all materials, a temporary Stata12 license, breakfast, lunch, snacks, and Monday evening reception.  All amounts will increase by $50 on April 1, 2013 (but we’re likely to fill up well before then).

For Northwestern or USC-affiliated attendees, we will charge the regular rate, but will give you a refund after the workshop to bring your cost down to $300 if you in fact attend at least a majority of the sessions.  We adopted this policy because if you register and don’t come, you took a spot we could have provided to someone else.

You can cancel by May 3, 2013 for a 75% refund and by May 31, 2013 for a 50% refund (in each case, less credit card processing fee), but there are no refunds after that.

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