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the Tarzan

{ a.k.a. Difference-in-Difference, Difference-in-Differences,DD, DID, D-I-D. }

DID estimation uses four data points to deduce the impact of a policy change or some other shock (a.k.a. treatment) on the treated population: the effect of the treatment on the treated.  The structure of the experiment implies that the treatment group and control group have similar characteristics and are trending in the same way over time.  This means that the counterfactual (unobserved scenario) is that had the treated group not received treatment, its mean value would be the same distance from the control group in the second period.  See the diagram below; the four data points are the observed mean (average) of each group. These are the only data points necessary to calculate the effect of the treatment on the treated.  The dotted lines represent the trend that is not observed by the researcher.  Notice that although the means are…

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