Cologne, Germany

Causal Inference Using Survey Data

when 7 August 2023 - 11 August 2023
language English
duration 1 week
credits 4 EC
fee EUR 500

This course will introduce participants to the concepts and methods of causal inference and causal modeling in the social sciences. It will highlight the relevance of research design, analytical methods and their systematic combination to optimize the validity of causal inferences drawn from empirical studies. Participants will learn the key principles and techniques of causal inference, including potential outcomes, counterfactuals, and causal graphs, and will get to know the experimental approach to causality. Building on existing knowledge concerning linear regression modelling and research design, the course will then cover key methods of causal modeling using survey data, such as fixed effects panel models, matching, difference-in-differences, regression discontinuity, and instrumental variables. Throughout the course, participants will apply these concepts and methods in hands-on sessions to real-world examples in the social sciences. The application will be conducted with the statistical software package Stata. The course will also touch upon advanced topics such as effect modification, reverse causality, measurement issues, and data quality. By the end of the course, participants will have the skills and knowledge to design, conduct, and interpret causal inference studies in the social sciences. They will be able to engage with the contemporary literature of causal inference and identify state-of-the-art methods which might be most relevant to their specific research question.

Course leader

Heinz Leitgöb is Interim Professor of Quantitative Research Methods at the Institute of Sociology, Leipzig University.
Tobias Wolbring is Professor of Empirical Economic Sociology at School of Business, Economics, and Society at FAU Erlangen-Nürnberg.

Target group

Participants will find the course useful if they:
- have a background in the social, behavioral or economic sciences (economists, political scientists, sociologists, criminologists, psychologists, etc.).
- are interested in methods for causal inference based on experimental and/or observational data, especially panel data.
- have a firm knowledge in linear regression modelling.
- are motivated to apply the concepts and statistical approaches in hands-on sessions.

- Knowledge of basic statistical concepts, including the principles of linear and binary logistic regression
- Background in statistical software, preferably Stata
- Basic understanding of designing quantitative studies

Course aim

By the end of the course participants will:
- have a good understanding of the potential outcome framework, causal diagrams, and the counterfactual way of thinking.
- be capable of designing their own studies to derive causal estimates in observational settings.
- acquire an in-depth understanding of and the skills to carry out five family of methods: fixed effects models, matching, difference-in-differences, instrumental variables, and regression discontinuity design.
- become familiar with interdisciplinary applications of the methods covered by the course.
- be able to engage the contemporary literature of causal inference and identify state-of-the-art methods which might be most relevant to their specific research question.

Credits info

4 EC
- Certificate of attendance issued upon completion.

Optional bookings:
The University of Mannheim acknowledges the workload for regular attendance, satisfactory work on daily assignments and for submitting a paper of 5000 words to the lecturer(s) by 15 October at the latest with 4 ECTS (70 EUR administration fee).

Fee info

EUR 500: Student/PhD student rate.
EUR 750: Academic/non-profit rate.
The rates include the tuition fee, course materials, the academic program, access to library and IT facilities, and coffee/tea breaks.