Replication projects

A typical replication notebook has the following structure:

  • presentation of baseline article with proper citation and brief summary

  • using causal graphs to illustrate the authors’ identification strategy

  • replication of selected key results

  • critical assessment of quality

  • independent contribution, e.g. additional external evidence, robustness checks, visualization

There might be good reason to deviate from this structure. If so, please simply document your reasoning and go ahead. Please use the opportunity to review other student projects for some inspirations as well.

Here are some examples of replication projects from earlier iterations of the OSE data science course.

Angrist (1990)

The randomly assigned risk of induction generated by the draft lottery is used to construct estimates of the effect of veteran status on civilian earnings. These estimates are not biased by the fact that certain types of men are more likely than others to service in the military. Social Security administrative records indicate that in the early 1980s, long after their service in Vietnam was ended, the earnings of white veterans were approximately 15 percent less than the earnings of comparable nonveterans.

Project by Pascal Heid

Angrist & Krueger (1991)

This paper presents evidence showing that individuals’ season of birth is related to their educational attainment because of the combined effects of school start age policy and compulsory school attendance laws. In most school districts, individuals born in the beginning of the year start school at a slightly older age, and therefore are eligible to drop out of school after completing fewer years of schooling than individuals born near the end of the year. Our estimates suggest that as many as 25 percent of potential dropouts remain in school because of compulsory schooling laws. We estimate the impact of compulsory schooling on earnings by using quarter of birth as an instrumental variable for education in an earnings equation. This provides a valid identification strategy because date of birth is unlikely to be correlated with omitted earnings determinants. The instrumental variables estimate of the rate of return to education is remarkably close to the ordinary least squares estimate, suggesting that there is little ability bias in conventional estimates of the return to education. The results also imply that individuals who are compelled to attend school longer than they desire by compulsory schooling laws reap a substantial return for their extra schooling.

Project by Felix Kirsch

Lindo et al. (2010)

Project by Annica Gehlen

Lindo et al. (2010) examine the effects of academic probation on student outcomes using a regression discontinuity design. The analysis is based on data from a large Canadian university and evaluates whether academic probation is successful in improving the performance of low scoring students. Consistent with a model of performance standards, the authors find that being placed on probation in the first year of university induces some students to drop out of school while it improves the grades of students who continue their studies. In a more general sense, academic probation can offer insights into how agents respond to negative incentives and the threat of punishment in a real-world context.