This paper explores the use of instrumental variables analysis with a multisite randomized trial to estimate the effect of a mediating variable on an outcome.
Despite the growing popularity of the use of regression discontinuity analysis, there is only a limited amount of accessible information to guide researchers in the implementation of this research design. This paper provides an overview of the approach and, in easy-to-understand language, offers best practices and general guidance for practitioners.
An Analysis of the Interaction among Quality-of-Life Indicators from the New Communities Program Evaluation
This paper explores analytic methods that assess the rate at which changes in neighborhood quality of life occur. It looks at correlations among quality indicators over time and the effect of both neighborhood context and conditions beyond the neighborhood, like the Great Recession, identifying which indicators are predictors of others.
Using an alternative to classical statistics, this paper reanalyzes results from three published studies of interventions to increase employment and reduce welfare dependency. The analysis formally incorporates prior beliefs about the interventions, characterizing the results in terms of the distribution of possible effects, and generally confirms the earlier published findings.
Howard Bloom’s Remarks on Accepting the Peter H. Rossi Award
In a speech before the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management Conference on November 5, 2010, Howard Bloom, MDRC’s Chief Social Scientist, accepted the Peter H. Rossi Award for Contributions to the Theory or Practice of Program Evaluation.
Strategies for Interpreting and Reporting Intervention Effects on Subgroups
This revised paper examines strategies for interpreting and reporting estimates of intervention effects for subgroups of a study sample. Specifically, the paper considers: why and how subgroup findings are important for applied research, the importance of prespecifying subgroups before analyses are conducted, and the importance of using existing theory and prior research to distinguish between subgroups for which study findings are confirmatory, as opposed to exploratory.
This paper is the first step in a study of instrumental variables analysis with randomized trials to estimate the effects of settings on individuals. The goal of the study is to examine the strengths and weaknesses of the approach and present them in ways that are broadly accessible to applied quantitative social scientists.
What Do We Know and What Do We Need to Know?
This working paper, prepared for a conference sponsored by the Institute for Research on Poverty at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, reviews evidence about the effectiveness of two strategies to strengthen family relationships and fathers’ involvement with their children: fatherhood programs aimed at disadvantaged noncustodial fathers and relationship skills programs for parents who are together.
In some experimental evaluations of classroom- or school-level interventions, random assignment is conducted at the student level and the program is delivered at the higher level. This paper clarifies the correct causal interpretation of “program impacts” when this study design is used and discusses the implications and limitations of this research design. A real example is used to demonstrate the paper’s key points.
The Policy and Practice of Assessing and Placing Students in Developmental Education Courses
This paper reports on case studies conducted at three community colleges to learn about how the colleges assess students for placement in developmental education courses. The case studies identify several problems and challenges, including lack of consensus about the standard for college-level work, the high-stakes nature of the assessments, and the minimal relationship between assessment for placement and diagnosis for instruction.