This paper reviews the history of the regression discontinuity design in three academic disciplines. It describes the design's birth and subsequent demise in Psychology even though most problems with it had been solved there. It further describes the scant interest shown in the design by scholars formally trained in Statistics, and the design's poor reception in Economics from 1972 until about 1995, when its profile and acceptance changed. Reasons are given for this checkered history that is characterized as waiting for life to arrive.A version of the paper is freely available here; and tells us that "since its invention in 1960, RDD has been, in Samuel Beckett’s words: waiting for life to happen."
Saturday, February 12, 2011
Samuel Beckett and Regression Discontinuity Design
In 2008, Thomas Cook published Waiting for Life to Arrive: A history of the regression-discontinuity design in Psychology, Statistics and Economics, in the Journal of Econometrics. The abstract is as follows: