Last week I went to a course in regression discountinuity (RD) designs in Uppsala, Sweden. RD is about using shifts in policy to identify causal effects on various outcomes.
A classic example is found in the “effects of schooling on earnings”-litterature, where the schooling decision is endogenous because it partly depends on unobservables such as ability. RD-designs can be used to fix this problem such as in a paper by Matsudaira (Journal of Econometrics, 2007) that exploits a mandatory summer school program for students who score less than some cutoff level on a test. The idea is that students very close to the cutoff point are unlikely to have different ability and hence we can compare students who were just bad enough to get into the schooling-program with students who were just good enough to stay out of the program, and thereby hope to indentify the effect of schooling on wages.
Besides that Uppsala (pop. 167,000) is a very beautiful city located in eastern Sweden about one hour by train from Stockholm. They say that the university is the oldest in Europe after the one in Bologna (which dates back to the 11th century). The city is also now as hometown for Carl von LinnÃ© who is world famous for his plant-taxonomy (see Wikipedia’sarticle about him). As an aside: While I was in Uppsala they were celebrating his 300th birthday so the Swedish king and the Japanese emperor was in town and the shopping street was temporarily decorated with a very, very, long roll-on lawn and lots of flowers.
To get the idea of the beauty of the city, you can see a pseudo-live webcast from Uppsala University here.
And one more thing. I always thought that the price of beer in Sweden was much higher than in Denmark, and that that was the reason for all the drunken Swedes in Copenhagen. But a beer in a restaurant in Uppsala costs the same as a beer in a restaurant in Denmark (around 50 SEK ~ 40 DKK) and the purchasing power is roughly the same (a Big Mac is $4.84 in Denmark and $4.59 in Sweden – see the Big Mac Index). So what explains all the drunken Swedes in Copenhagen?