Attendees at the Synthetic Control and Related Methods conference hosted by IDSS in 2019.

IDSS hosts ‘Conference on Synthetic Control and Related Methods’

June 5, 2019

IDSS hosted the ‘Conference on Synthetic Control and Related Methods,’ sponsored by the National Science Foundation and the National Bureau of Economic Research, from May 20-21, 2019. The conference was organized by IDSS Associate Director and Professor of Economics Alberto Abadie, along with fellow MIT economics and IDSS professor Victor Chernozhukov and Guido Imbens, a professor of economics at Stanford.

Synthetic control is a statistical method for evaluating the effect of an intervention, where a weighted combination of groups used as controls are compared to a treatment group. This method, which Abadie played a major role in developing, is increasingly popular not only in statistics but in political science, marketing, and economics.

The conference allowed researchers — both prominent scholars and students — who are studying synthetic controls to exchange new ideas, share progress on current and forthcoming research, and learn about new applications. The conference explored how the synthetic control method can be used in empirical applications where data is incomplete, and econometric settings for running difference-in-differences specifications. The closing talk also provided a great example of how the synthetic control method can help analyze salient policy issues.

Speakers included academics from MIT, Stanford, UCSD, Sao Paulo School of Economics, University of Texas, Columbia, UC Berkeley, the University of Oregon, and the Center for Research in Economics and Statistics (CREST), as well as a presentation on Unit Selection in Synthetic-Control Methods by two speakers from Facebook.

Working papers discussed at the conference are available via the conference agenda.

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