Lugano, Switzerland

Causal Analysis with Cross-Sectional Data

when 14 August 2023 - 18 August 2023
language English
duration 1 week
fee CHF 700

Does smoking cause bad health? Does income inequality increase political extremism? Do schools increase inequality? Many questions of interest to social scientists are causal. A widely held conviction claims that causal inference requires panel data. This claim is, however, wrong. This course provides an introduction to modern methods of causal inference that can be implemented with cross-sectional data. Building on the potential outcomes framework to causality, the course discusses natural experiments, instrumental variables, difference-in-differences (DID), siblings and twin fixed effects models, and regression discontinuity designs (RDD). All these methods allow researchers to control for unobserved variables and, therefore, to identify causal effects using cross-sectional data.

The course provides both a sound understanding of each method as well as practical exercises to implement these methods using Stata (or R).

There will also be plenty of time to discuss research projects and ideas related to the methods of the course by the participants.

Course leader

Michael Grätz is a lecturer (Maître assistant Ambizione) in sociology at the University of Lausanne, Switzerland and an associate professor (docent) at the Swedish Institute for Social Research (SOFI), Stockholm University.

Target group

graduate student, doctoral researchers, early career researchers, experienced researchers


Some elementary knowledge of regression analysis, in particular linear regression, will be necessary to be able to fully follow the content of the course. Statistical analyses will be conducted with Stata. A general knowledge of the software will be necessary to implement the practical exercises, as there won’t be time to learn basic commands. Participants can also conduct all exercises in R if they wish, but we will only have time to discuss the commands in Stata.

Credits info

The Summer School cannot grant credits. We only deliver a Certificate of Participation, i.e. we certify your attendance.

If you consider using Summer School workshops to obtain credits (ECTS), you will have to investigate at your home institution (contact the person/institute responsible for your degree) to find out whether they recognise the Summer School, how many credits can be earned from a workshop/course with roughly 35 hours of teaching, no graded work, and no exams.

Make sure to investigate this matter before registering if this is important to you.

Fee info

CHF 700: Reduced fee: 700 Swiss Francs per weekly workshop for students (requires proof of student status).
CHF 1100: Normal fee: 1100 Swiss Francs per weekly workshop for all others.