The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics

2018 Edition
| Editors: Macmillan Publishers Ltd

Natural Experiments and Quasi-Natural Experiments

  • J. DiNardo
Reference work entry


Natural experiments or quasi-natural experiments in economics are serendipitous situations in which persons are assigned randomly to a treatment (or multiple treatments) and a control group, and outcomes are analysed for the purposes of putting a hypothesis to a severe test; they are also serendipitous situations where assignment to treatment ‘approximates’ randomized design or a well-controlled experiment.


Experiment Natural experiments Quasi-natural experiments Randomization Regression discontinuity design Returns to schooling Social experiments Treatment effect 

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© Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. DiNardo
    • 1
  1. 1.