Regression Discontinuity designs in economics

David S. Lee, Thomas Lemieux

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2284 Scopus citations


This paper provides an introduction and "user guide" to Regression Discontinuity (RD) designs for empirical researchers. It presents the basic theory behind the research design, details when RD is likely to be valid or invalid given economic incentives, explains why it is considered a "quasi-experimental" design, and summarizes different ways (with their advantages and disadvantages) of estimating RD designs and the limitations of interpreting these estimates. Concepts are discussed using examples drawn from the growing body of empirical research using RD. (JEL C21, C31).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)281-355
Number of pages75
JournalJournal of Economic Literature
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Economics and Econometrics


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