Advanced Causal Inference Workshop

As of February 11, 2017: We do not currently plan to hold an advanced workshop in 2017.

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

Sunday-Wednesday, July 19-22, 2015, at Northwestern Pritzker School of Law, 375 East Chicago Avenue, Chicago, IL

Our regular "Main" Workshop on Research Design for Causal Inference will be held this year on July 13-17, 2015, at Northwestern Pritzker School of Law.

Teaching Faculty and Organizers | Registration | Schedule (Detailed Schedule) | Materials (login required) | Hotels | Wireless Access | Stata 14 Instructions | Participant List

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 (in order of appearance)

  • Justin McCrary (University of California, Berkeley, Law School)
    Justin McCrary is 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
  • Alberto Abadie (Harvard University, Kennedy School of Government)
    Alberto Abadie is Professor of Public Policy at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.  Principal research interests: econometrics; program evaluation.  Papers on SSRN
  • Tyler VanderWeele (Harvard University, School of Public Health)
    Tyler VanderWeele is Professor of Epidemiology and Professor of Biostatistics at the Harvard School of Public Health, and the author of Explanation in Causal Inference: Methods for Mediation and Interaction (Oxford University Press 2015).  Principal research interests: causal inference; mediation, interaction and spillover; epidemiology; religion and health. 

Conference Organizers

  • Bernard Black (Northwestern University)
    Nicholas J. Chabraja Professor at Northwestern University School of Law, with a secondary appointment at Kellogg School of Management, Department of Finance. 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

Click here to register

Registration deadline: July 3, 2015

Main workshop:
  Tuition is $850 ($500 for graduate students and post-doctoral fellows; $350 for Northwestern or Duke-affiliated attendees).

Advanced workshop:  Tuition is $700 ($400 for graduate students and post-doctoral fellows; $250 for Northwestern or Duke-affiliated attendees).  Three-day option: The Sunday session (on simulation and bootstrapping) can be skipped without loss of continuity.  The 3-day cost is $560 ($320 for graduate students and post-docs; $200 for Northwestern or Duke affiliates).

Combined workshop discount:  40% discount on the advanced workshop for those who attend both workshops. (Does not apply to Northwestern or Duke affiliates).

Each workshop fee includes all materials, a temporary Stata14 license, breakfast, lunch, snacks, and Monday evening reception.  All amounts will increase by $50 in May 13th, but we may fill up before then.

Workshop Schedule

Registration and welcome breakfast:  July 19, 8:00 a.m.

Sunday-Monday July 19-20 (Justin McCrary)

Sunday:  Simulation and bootstrap
Conducting simulation studies.  Inference and testing using the bootstrap, including adapting bootstrap methods to your research design.  Different bootstrap flavors and asymptotic refinement.  

Monday:  Non-linear methods

Selected issues for non-linear models, including logit, conditional logit, probit, and count models.  Using non-linear models with panel data.  Maximum likelihood and quasi maximum likelihood estimation.  Inconsistency of non-linear models with fixed effects.

Tuesday July 21 (Alberto Abadie)

Advanced Matching and Causal IV

Selected topics in matching on covariates.  “Causal IV” with covariates and Abadie’s “kappa.”  

Wednesday July 22 (Tyler VanderWeele)

Causal mediation analysis -- the direct and indirect effects of causes.  Comparison of traditional social science approaches to potential outcomes methods.  Identification.  Regression-based methods.  Sensitivity analysis. Multiple mediators.


Please click here to reserve your room at the Marriott Residence Inn, which is roughly four blocks north of the law school. Rooms for the advanced workshop are $199 per night plus tax. The deadline to reserve your room is May 19, 2015.

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.

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