The 2nd Edition of our Summer School on impact evaluation methodologies concluded last week with a lively panel session! Participants had the chance to present their own works and get professors’ feedback to improve their pieces of research. This year edition gathered 21 practitioners, researchers and PhD students from all over the world. Prof. Donald B. Rubin and Prof. Fabrizia Mealli lectured at the morning sessions, discussing causal inference methodologies for assessing the impact of development programs and policies. The cutting-edge of impact evaluation approaches has been explored, starting from randomized controlled trials, which is considered as the gold standard for measuring an intervention impact. Assessing threats to valid inference and defining research design that can mitigate those threats were the other core subjects of the Summer School.
Issues of unknown assignment mechanism have been addressed. Professors showed how to design observational studies and do inference in these settings. Advanced topics and post treatment complications have been tackled during the last two days. Lectures focused on irregular assignment mechanisms, including instrumental variables settings, other broken randomized experiments and regression discontinuity design.
In addition to the plenary sessions, each afternoon participants attended applied sessions where for each type of study case studies were illustrated using R code.
This year it has been a pleasure to host the Deputy Director of JPAL Europe, Ilf Bencheikh, among our instructors. He provided participants with important notions concerning the practical implementation of a program evaluation and how to draw policy lessons from one context to another. He addressed the design and running of randomized experiments, theory of change, external validity and the use of evidence to advise decision-makers.
Lastly, participants especially enjoyed our side events, which turned out to be valuable networking opportunities while discovering the best sights in Florence.