New Short Course

Designing, Conducting and Analyzing Field Experiments

March 5-6, 2015. Universitat Pompeu Fabra 


Dr. Donald P. Green
Columbia University

Venue:  Universidad Pompeu Fabra
Ramon Trias Fargas, 25-27 
08005 Barcelona
CLASSROOM: 40153  


Course overview: 
In this workshop, we will discuss the logic of experimentation, its strengths and weaknesses compared to other methodologies, and the ways in which experimentation has been -- and could be -- used to investigate political, social, and economic phenomena.  Emphasis will be placed on field experiments, randomized trials conducted in real-world settings.  Examples will be drawn from a broad array of disciplines. 

After describing the attractive statistical properties of experiments, we consider a variety of potential threats to core assumptions.  In particular, we consider the complications that arise when (1) treatment and control conditions differ in systematic ways other than the intended treatment, (2) treatments are not administered according to the randomly assigned plan, (3) and subjects are affected by the treatments assigned or administered to others.  In each case, we discuss possible statistical and design solutions.  We conclude by discussing the practical issues that arise when conducting experiments in field settings. 

Participants should have some knowledge of statistics and regression.  Experience using statistical software such as R or STATA is also helpful.


Readings: The primary text for the course is:

Gerber, Alan S., and Donald P. Green. 2012. Field Experiments: Design, Analysis, and Interpretation. New York: W.W. Norton.

This textbook (FEDAI for short) is too extensive to be covered in just two days, but we will make our way through much of the first half, which covers core topics.

The planned schedule of the course is as follows.  Each day will be divided into three sessions.


Day 1

9:30-11:30 Session 1

What are experiments?  Why conduct experimental research?

FEDAI: Chapter 1.


11:30-11:45 break

11:45-13:45 Session 2

Experiments and Models of Potential Outcomes

FEDAI: Chapter 2


13:45-15:00 break

15:00-17:30 Session 3

Blocking, Clustering, and Covariate Adjustment

FEDAI: Chapter 3 and 4.  In addition, read the following article, which illustrates the use of blocking.


Day 2

9:30-11:30 Session 1.  Field Experiments with One-sided Noncompliance (Failure-to-Treat)

FEDAI: Chapter 5.  In addition, read the following article, which we will use in class to illustrate the analysis of experiments with one-sided noncompliance.


11:30-11:45 break

11:45-13:45  Session 2. 

Computer Practicum Analyzing Experimental Data


13:45-15:00 break


15:00-17:30 Session 3.  

Implementing a Field Experiment and Reporting the Results

FEDAI: Chapter 13, Appendix A, and Appendix B





Universidad Pompeu Fabra
Ramon Trias Fargas, 25-27 
08005 Barcelona 



TRAM T4 GLÒRIES (Ca l'Aranyó) - T5 i T6 GLÒRIES (La Farinera)

BUS 52, 60, 21, 192, 92, 7



Professional rate: 400€
Academic rate (teachers & researchers): 300€
Student rate: 150€


More information: