Trust me, setting things up right from the beginning will avoid a ton of tears and heartache…
前些日，咱们圈子引荐了①“实证研究中用到的200篇文章, 社科学者常备toolkit”、②实证文章写作常用到的50篇名家经验帖, 学者必读系列、③过去10年AER上关于中国主题的Articles专辑、④AEA公布2017-19年度最受关注的十大研究话题, 给你的选题方向，受到各位学者欢迎和热议，很多博士生导师纷纷推荐给指导的学生参阅。
继上次，腾讯公司相关部门与因果推断研究小组开展了还算友好的交流后（“BATJ巨头急需大批经济学博士, 望奔走相告”），最近，阿里巴巴相关部门人员也希望在因果推断研究小组交流访问。经济学博士在BATJ公司有啥用呢? 难不成比IT程序员还有能耐，正如上文所讲，因果推断在将来很长一段时间里都是科技公司和社科学者使用的主流方法。我们会一如既往地在小组和社群探讨主流的因果推断方法，同时也欢迎大型科技公司与咱们学者保持更紧密的互动。之前，咱们小组引荐了1.再谈合成控制法SCM, 帮你寻找因果推断控制组，2.合成控制法什么鬼? 因果推断的前沿方法指南，3.广义合成控制法gsynth, 基于交互固定效应的因果推断，4.广义合成控制法gsynth, Stata运行程序release，5.合成控制法与HCW方法, 谁能够走得更远？，6.DID, 合成控制, 匹配, RDD四种方法比较, 适用范围和特征，7.援助和荷兰病, 汶川大地震的发现, 因果推断文献，受到博士生导师普遍欢迎，并分享给其指导的学生学习。
今天，咱们小组再引荐34篇使用合成控制法做实证研究的社科文章，感兴趣的学者可以在社群下载交流和讨论。下面每一篇文章都值得年轻学者在武汉肺炎期间认真研习，毕竟每个个体在特殊时期都有自己的角色和相应责任。另外，有不少学者给圈子的文章打赏，对此甚是感谢（都记录在册）。Ando, M. (2015). "Dreams of urbanization: Quantitative case studies on the local impacts of nuclear power facilities using the synthetic control method." Journal of Urban Economics 85: 68-85.This paper uses the synthetic control (SC) method to examine how the establishment of nuclear power facilities (NPFs) in Japan in the 1970s and 1980s has affected local per capita income levels in the municipalities in which they were localted (NPF municipalities). Eight quantitative case studies using the SC method clarify that the effects of NPF establishment on per capita taxable income levels are highly heterogeneous. The estimated effects are often economically meaningful and in some cases huge: the income level was 11% higher on average and 62% higher in one municipality in 2002 when compared with counterfactual units. On the other hand a few of the NPF municipalities have received only weak or negligible effects from NPF establishment. The post-estimation comparisons of employment between the NPF municipalities and the SC units suggest that the size of the direct labor demand shocks and subsequent indirect employment effects on nontradable service sectors have contributed to the increase in per capita income levels.Aytuğ, H. (2017). "Does the reserve options mechanism really decrease exchange rate volatility? The synthetic control method approach." International Review of Economics & Finance 51: 405-416.After the invention of the Reserve Option Mechanism (ROM) by the Central Bank of Turkey (CBRT), it has been debated whether it can help decrease the volatility of foreign exchange rate. In this study, I apply a new microeconometric technique, the synthetic control method, in order to construct counterfactual foreign exchange rate volatility in the absence of ROM. I find that, USD/TRY rate is less volatile under ROM. However, it has not worked efficiently after CBRT raised interest rates as a reaction to the tapering tantrum in June 2013. Furthermore, it could have decreased the volatility of foreign exchange rate if CBRT had not increased interest rates as a reaction.Barlow, P. (2018). "Does trade liberalization reduce child mortality in low- and middle-income countries? A synthetic control analysis of 36 policy experiments, 1963-2005." Social Science & Medicine 205: 107-115.Scholars have long argued that trade liberalization leads to lower rates of child mortality in developing countries. Yet current scholarship precludes definitive conclusions about the magnitude and direction of this relationship. Here I analyze the impact of trade liberalization on child mortality in 36 low- and middle-income countries, 1963–2005, using the synthetic control method. I test the hypothesis that trade liberalization leads to lower rates of child mortality, examine whether this association varies between countries and over time, and explore the potentially modifying role of democratic politics, historical context, and geographic location on the magnitude and direction of this relationship. My analysis shows that, on average, trade liberalization had no impact on child mortality in low- and middle-income countries between 1963 and 2005 (Average effect (AE): −0.15%; 95% CI: −2.04%–2.18%). Yet the scale, direction and statistical significance of this association varied markedly, ranging from a ∼20% reduction in child mortality in Uruguay to a ∼20% increase in the Philippines compared with synthetic controls. Trade liberalization was also followed by the largest declines in child mortality in democracies (AE 10-years post reform (AE10): −3.28%), in Latin America (AE10: −4.15%) and in the 1970s (AE10: −6.85%). My findings show that trade liberalization can create an opportunity for reducing rates of child mortality, but its effects cannot be guaranteed. Inclusive and pro-growth contextual factors appear to influence whether trade liberalization actually yields beneficial consequences in developing societies.Bauhoff, S. (2014). "The effect of school district nutrition policies on dietary intake and overweight: A synthetic control approach." Economics & Human Biology 12: 45-55.School nutrition policies aim to eliminate ubiquitous unhealthy foods and beverages from schools to improve adolescent dietary behavior and reduce childhood obesity. This paper evaluates the impact of an early nutrition policy, Los Angeles Unified School District's food-and-beverage standards of 2004, using two large datasets on food intake and physical measures. I implement cohort and cross-section estimators using “synthetic” control groups, combinations of unaffected districts that are reweighted to closely resemble the treatment unit in the pre-intervention period. The results indicate that the policy was mostly ineffective at reducing the prevalence of overweight or obesity 8–15 months after the intervention but significantly decreased consumption of two key targets, soda and fried foods. The policy's impact on physical outcomes appears to be mitigated by substitution toward foods that are still (or newly) available in the schools.Becker, M. and S. Klößner (2018). "Fast and reliable computation of generalized synthetic controls." Econometrics and Statistics 5: 1-19.Given that existing implementations of synthetic control methods are plagued by serious weaknesses, new methods are offered for calculating synthetic control units. In particular, it is shown how to detect and handle important special cases that have yet to be addressed. Numerical methods for fast and reliably solving the nested optimization associated with the standard case are also discussed. An open source implementation of the presented methods is provided with the R package MSCMT, which can also be applied to generalizations of ‘standard’ synthetic control methods.Bilgel, F. and B. Galle (2015). "Financial incentives for kidney donation: A comparative case study using synthetic controls." Journal of Health Economics 43: 103-117.Although many commentators called for increased efforts to incentivize organ donations, theorists and some evidence suggest these efforts will be ineffective. Studies examining the impact of tax incentives generally report zero/negative coefficients, but these studies incorrectly define their tax variables and rely on difference-in-differences despite likely failures of the parallel trends assumption. We identify the causal effect of tax legislation to serve as an organ donor on living kidney donation rates in the U.S. states using more precise tax data and allowing for heterogeneous time-variant causal effects. Employing a synthetic control method, we find that the passage of tax incentive legislation increased living unrelated kidney donation rates by 52 percent in New York relative to a comparable synthetic New York in the absence of legislation. It is possible that New York is unique, but our methodology does not allow us to measure accurately effects in other states.Bonander, C., et al. (2016). "Universities as engines for regional growth? Using the synthetic control method to analyze the effects of research universities." Regional Science and Urban Economics 60: 198-207.Are research universities important for regional growth and development? We study the impact on the regional economy of granting research university status to three former university colleges in three different regions in Sweden. We analyze the development in the treated regions compared to a set of control regions that are created using the synthetic control method. We find small or no effects on the regional economy. Our findings cast doubt on the effectiveness of research universities in fostering regional growth and development. We contribute to the existing research by using a more credible identification strategy in assessing the effects of universities on the regional economy compared to what has usually been used in previous studies.Borbely, D. (2019). "A case study on Germany’s aviation tax using the synthetic control approach." Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice 126: 377-395.The German Aviation Tax is a tax levied on departing passengers from German airports. In this paper, we investigate the impact Germany’s aviation tax has had on passenger numbers using the synthetic control method to generate counterfactual passenger numbers for German airports, and for airports outside Germany but near the German border. The results are consistent with passengers engaging in cross-border substitution in response to the aviation tax. Most tax exempt airports near German borders have made sizeable gains in passenger numbers since Germany introduced its aviation tax. Within Germany there appears to be a clear distinction in the impact on small/regional airports and that on larger hubs. From a policy perspective, the finding of a cross-border substitution effect implies that the aviation tax might not be effective in curbing overall emissions from air travel, whilst also leading to lost tax revenues through the displacement of passengers to neighbouring countries.Bueno, M. and M. Valente (2019). "The effects of pricing waste generation: A synthetic control approach." Journal of Environmental Economics and Management 96: 274-285.To internalize pollution externalities into household waste generation, Unit Pricing Systems (UPS) have been adopted worldwide. This paper evaluates the causal effects of a UPS on the disposal of municipal solid waste in Trento, Italy. Using a unique panel dataset of monthly waste generation in Italian municipalities, we employ the synthetic control method, which allows us to account for possible time-varying effects of unobservables. Our results show that the policy was effective, with a significant decrease of the priced waste stream, unsorted waste, by 37.5%. This effect seems to be largely driven by behavioral changes towards waste avoidance (−8.6%) and possibly by a smaller increase in recycling (+6.1%). By comparing these results to those obtained by a difference-in-differences approach, we show that failing to account for time-varying effects of unobservables may lead to a mismeasurement of policy effects.Castillo, V., et al. (2017). "The causal effects of regional industrial policies on employment: A synthetic control approach." Regional Science and Urban Economics 67: 25-41.Industrial policies affecting entire sectors in regions, provinces, or districts can account for large portions of sub-national government spending. Yet because of the methodological challenges related to the identification of a counterfactual when a single unit is treated, the causal effects of these policies on the growth of the industry, or specifically on employment, are seldom identified. We adopt a Synthetic Control Method (SCM) approach to analyze the long-term impact on employment of the Tourism Development Policy (TDP) implemented by the Argentinean province of Salta. We find an 11 percent average annual impact over 10 years on employment in the hospitality sector, which translated in an accumulated impact of 1376 formal jobs in the tourism value-chain. We also find that this growth did not happen at the expenses of other industries and that TDP generated positive inter-industry employment spillovers/externalities. For each job created in the tourism value-chain, an additional job was created in the rest of the provincial economy, which resulted in a total creation of 2750 formal jobs. Our results are robust across a series of placebo tests and sensitivity checks and are consistent among alternative synthetic control units.Cerulli, G. (2019). "A flexible Synthetic Control Method for modeling policy evaluation." Economics Letters 182: 40-44.We extend the Synthetic Control Method (SCM) of Abadie et al. (2010) for policy evaluation through a flexible nonparametric construction of the weights for estimating the synthetic (or counterfactual) time pattern of a treated unit. We present a comparison of both methods to assess the effects of adopting the Euro as national currency on Italian exports. Results show that both methods provide a small pre-treatment prediction error. However, when departing from the beginning of the pre-treatment period, the nonparametric SCM slightly outperforms the parametric one.Chamon, M., et al. (2017). "FX interventions in Brazil: A synthetic control approach." Journal of International Economics 108: 157-168.In the aftermath of the taper tantrum, the Central Bank of Brazil announced a major program of sterilized foreign exchange intervention. We use a synthetic control approach to estimate its impact on the level and volatility of the exchange rate. Our counterfactual results, based on the experience of other emerging markets, indicate the program led to an appreciation of the Brazilian real in excess of 10%. Some of our estimates also point to a decline in the option-implied volatility. A second announcement extending the program had more muted effects, and subsequent extensions had little or no impact.Chang, T. Z., et al. (2019). "Beyond the Four Bases: A Home Run for Synthetic Epigenetic Control?" Molecular Cell 74(1): 5-7.Park et al. (2019) create a synthetic self-propagating adenine methylation system for epigenetic control in human cells. Targeting adenine allows their modular system to act orthogonally to most epigenetic processes, thereby opening the door for novel methods of controlling gene expression.de Vocht, F. (2016). "Inferring the 1985–2014 impact of mobile phone use on selected brain cancer subtypes using Bayesian structural time series and synthetic controls." Environment International 97: 100-107.Background Mobile phone use has been increasing rapidly in the past decades and, in parallel, so has the annual incidence of certain types of brain cancers. However, it remains unclear whether this correlation is coincidental or whether use of mobile phones may cause the development, promotion or progression of specific cancers. The 1985–2014 incidence of selected brain cancer subtypes in England were analyzed and compared to counterfactual ‘synthetic control’ timeseries. Methods Annual 1985–2014 incidence of malignant glioma, glioblastoma multiforme, and malignant neoplasms of the temporal and parietal lobes in England were modelled based on population-level covariates using Bayesian structural time series models assuming 5,10 and 15year minimal latency periods. Post-latency counterfactual ‘synthetic England’ timeseries were nowcast based on covariate trends. The impact of mobile phone use was inferred from differences between measured and modelled time series. Results There is no evidence of an increase in malignant glioma, glioblastoma multiforme, or malignant neoplasms of the parietal lobe not predicted in the ‘synthetic England’ time series. Malignant neoplasms of the temporal lobe however, have increased faster than expected. A latency period of 10years reflected the earliest latency period when this was measurable and related to mobile phone penetration rates, and indicated an additional increase of 35% (95% Credible Interval 9%:59%) during 2005–2014; corresponding to an additional 188 (95%CI 48–324) cases annually. Conclusions A causal factor, of which mobile phone use (and possibly other wireless equipment) is in agreement with the hypothesized temporal association, is related to an increased risk of developing malignant neoplasms in the temporal lobe.Gharehgozli, O. (2017). "An estimation of the economic cost of recent sanctions on Iran using the synthetic control method." Economics Letters 157: 141-144.International sanctions imposed on Iran, targeting primarily Iran’s key energy sector and its ability to access the international financial system, have harmed Iran’s economic growth, specifically since 2011 through 2014. Using the synthetic control method, this paper estimates that sanctions during this period reduced Iran’s real GDP by more than 17% with the largest drop occurring in 2012.Gius, M. (2019). "Using the synthetic control method to determine the effects of concealed carry laws on state-level murder rates." International Review of Law and Economics 57: 1-11.The purpose of the present study is to determine the relationship between concealed carry (CCW) laws and state-level murder rates. Specifically, this study will examine the impact of a change in CCW status from “prohibited” to “shall issue” on murder rates. Using a synthetic control method, results of the present study suggest that only in New Mexico did the move from “prohibited” CCW status to “shall issue” CCW status result in an increase in murder rates and gun related murder rates. For the remaining states, the change in CCW status had no effect on murder rates. As a robustness check on the results found using the synthetic control method, a fixed effects model was also estimated. These results indicate that states that changed from “prohibited” to “shall issue” experienced a 12.3% increase in gun-related murder rates and a 4.9% increase in overall murder rates. It is important to note that none of the results in the present study indicate that a move from “prohibited” to “shall issue” CCW status may result in a decline in murder rates.Grier, K. and N. Maynard (2016). "The economic consequences of Hugo Chavez: A synthetic control analysis." Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization 125: 1-21.We use the synthetic control method to perform a case study of the impact of Hugo Chavez on the Venezuelan economy. We compare outcomes under Chavez's leadership and polices against a counterfactual of “business as usual” in similar countries. We find that, relative to our control, per capita income fell dramatically. While poverty, health, and inequality outcomes all improved during the Chavez administration, these outcomes also improved in each of the corresponding control cases and thus we cannot attribute the improvements to Chavismo. We conclude that the overall economic consequences of the Chavez administration were bleak.Hope, D. (2016). "Estimating the effect of the EMU on current account balances: A synthetic control approach." European Journal of Political Economy 44: 20-40.The European sovereign debt crisis wrought major political and economic damage on the European Monetary Union (EMU). This led to a reassessment of the pre-crisis period of economic growth and stability in the EMU, shifting attention to the macroeconomic imbalances that emerged between member states, especially those in current account balances. This paper uses macroeconomic data on OECD economies and a new statistical approach for causal inference in observational studies—the synthetic control method—to estimate the effect of the EMU on the current account balances of individual member states. This ‘counterfactuals’ approach provides strong evidence that the introduction of the EMU was responsible for the divergence in current account balances among member states in the run-up to the euro crisis. The results suggest that the EMU effect operated through multiple channels and that fundamental changes to the institutional framework of the EMU may be required to safeguard the currency union against a reemergence of dangerous external imbalances in the future.Kahane, L. H. and P. Sannicandro (2019). "The impact of 1998 Massachusetts gun laws on suicide: A synthetic control approach." Economics Letters 174: 104-108.In 1998 Massachusetts enacted nearly two dozen gun laws. Using the synthetic control method, we find evidence that these laws led to reduced overall suicide rates for several years, and a sustained reduction in suicides carried out with a firearm.Kim, M.-K. and T. Kim (2016). "Estimating impact of regional greenhouse gas initiative on coal to gas switching using synthetic control methods." Energy Economics 59: 328-335.Fuel switching from coal to much cleaner natural gas in electricity generation is one of significant factors explaining the recent substantial reduction in greenhouse gas emissions in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) region (northeastern U.S.). Coal to gas switching has been triggered by the recent shale gas revolution, which the entire U.S. has experienced, not the RGGI region alone. If RGGI as a cap-and-trade carbon program did not work effectively, the rate of fuel switching would have been similar to that of other U.S. states. To estimate the effects of RGGI implementation in terms of the fuel switching, we use the synthetic control method for comparative case studies. Results provide a strong evidence that coal to gas switching has been actually accelerated by RGGI implementation. RGGI increases gas share in electricity generation in the RGGI region by roughly 10–15% point higher than the synthetic RGGI.Lin, B. and X. Chen (2018). "Is the implementation of the Increasing Block Electricity Prices policy really effective?--- Evidence based on the analysis of synthetic control method." Energy 163: 734-750.The implementation of Increasing Block Electricity Prices (IBEPs) aims to guide residents towards electricity savings and rational energy use, but there are questions over the effectiveness of the IBEPs to achieve these goals. To this end, this paper uses residential IBEPs policy implemented in Sichuan Province of China in 2006 as a natural experiment to answer the question of whether IBEPs effectively regulate residents’ electricity demand. Synthetic control method (SCM) was used to evaluate the treatment effect of the policy. The paper finds that the IBEPs policy significantly reduces urban and rural residential electricity consumption. The per capita electricity consumption of urban residents fell by 26.87–100.76 kWh/year with an average of 51.40 kWh/year, equivalent to a decrease of 5.93%–17.50% and average of 11.17%. On the other hand, the per capita electricity consumption of rural residents decreased by 20.86–48.28 kWh/year with an average of 26.28 kWh/year, which is equivalent of a decreased of 7.8%–16.79% and average of 12.75%. Electricity demand in urban areas decreased more than in rural areas, but rural residents are more sensitive to IBEPs than urban residents. In order to achieve “equity” and “efficiency”, China needs to further improve the design mechanism of residential IBEPs.Mohan, P. (2017). "The economic impact of hurricanes on bananas: A case study of Dominica using synthetic control methods." Food Policy 68: 21-30.This paper investigates the impact of hurricanes on bananas exports, using a documented case study of Hurricanes David and Frederick which struck Dominica in 1979. To this end synthetic control estimation methods were employed which entailed creating a comparable control group of the Caribbean with characteristics similar to Dominica prior to 1979 that were not affected by the storms and comparing their banana exports to those of Dominica. The estimation results show that the hurricanes had an immediate and sizeable negative impact on banana exports in Dominica in the year of the strike which lasted up to two years thereafter. However, there was no long term impact on banana exports in Dominica due to the storms.Munasib, A. and D. S. Rickman (2015). "Regional economic impacts of the shale gas and tight oil boom: A synthetic control analysis." Regional Science and Urban Economics 50: 1-17.The dramatic increase in oil and gas production from shale formations has led to an intense interest in its impact on local area economies. Exploration, drilling and extraction are associated with direct increases in employment and income in the energy industry, but little is known about the impacts on other parts of local economies. Increased energy sector employment and income can have positive spillover effects through increased purchases of intermediate goods and induced local spending. Negative spillover effects can occur through rising local factor and goods prices and adverse effects on the local area quality of life. Therefore, this paper examines the net economic impacts of oil and gas production from shale formations for key shale oil and gas producing areas in Arkansas, North Dakota and Pennsylvania. The synthetic control method (Abadie and Gardeazabal, 2003; Abadie et al., 2010) is used to establish a baseline projection for the local economies in the absence of increased energy development, allowing for estimation of the net regional economic effects of increased shale oil and gas production.Olper, A., et al. (2018). "Trade liberalization and child mortality: A Synthetic Control Method." World Development 110: 394-410.We study the effect of trade liberalization on child mortality using data from emerging and developing countries over the 1960–2010 period. To capture possible heterogeneity of effects, we use the Synthetic Control Method (SCM) for comparative case studies. The SCM allows to compare the trajectory of post-reform health outcomes of treated countries (those which experienced trade liberalization) with the trajectory of a combination of similar but untreated countries. On average, trade liberalization significantly reduced child mortality. The average reduction is around 9% ten years after the liberalization. But there is significant heterogeneity in the impact. For the cases for which the SCM could provide a reliable counterfactual, trade liberalization significantly reduced child mortality in approximately half the cases. In most other cases there was no significant effect. In the majority of the significant cases, the reduction in child mortality was more than 20%. On average, trade liberalization reduced child mortality more (a) in democracies compared to autocracies, (b) when incomes were higher and (c) when it reduced taxation of farmers.Peng, J., et al. (2020). "The impact of China's ‘Atmosphere Ten Articles’ policy on total factor productivity of energy exploitation: Empirical evidence using synthetic control methods." Resources Policy 65: 101544.Implementation of the atmospheric policy is important to influence energy production and exploitation. By implementing the atmospheric policy, this study has simulated and compared the energy exploitation total factor productivity (TFP) change path for the energy extraction and enrichment areas applying the synthetic control method, using Chinese panel data for the period from 2007 to 2016. The results show that the atmospheric policy will help the growth of TFP in Shandong, Anhui, and Shanxi, but the impact in most areas is not observable, and the lagging effect of atmospheric policy is conspicuous in Gansu, Shaanxi, Liaoning, and other places. Based on this, the study proposes three mechanisms to explain how atmospheric policy affects energy production TFP and uses a panel Tobit model to test the path of action. The test results show that implementation of the atmospheric policy has not improved energy exploitation TFP effectively, but it has to be implemented. Time effect and the model estimation results show that the atmospheric policy and technological innovations are more conducive to improving energy exploitation TFP, but the role of industrial division of labour and the energy market price mechanism makes it difficult to promote energy exploitation TFP. The influence of atmospheric policy varies in different regions and is inconsistent in the northeast and east. The regional atmospheric policy can significantly promote energy exploitation TFP in the region, but the central and western regions do not show significant inverse relationship with the energy exploitation TFP.Rieger, M., et al. (2017). "Universal health coverage at the macro level: Synthetic control evidence from Thailand." Social Science & Medicine 172: 46-55.As more and more countries are moving towards Universal Health Coverage (UHC), it is important to understand the macro level or aggregate impacts of such a policy. We use synthetic control methods to study the impact of UHC, introduced in Thailand in 2001, on various macroeconomic and health outcomes. Thailand is compared to a weighted average of control countries in terms of aggregate health financing indicators, aggregate health outcomes and economic performance, over the period 1995 to 2012. Our results suggest that UHC helps alleviate the financial consequences of illnesses. The estimated treatment effect of UHC on out-of-pocket payments as a percentage of overall health expenditures is negative 13 percentage points and its effect on annual government per capita health spending is US$ 79. We detect a smaller effect of US$ 60.8 on total health spending per capita which appears with a lag. We document positive health effects as captured by reductions in infant and child mortality. We do not find any effect on GDP and the share of the government budget devoted to health. Overall, our results complement micro evidence based on within country variation. The counterfactual design implemented here may be used to inform other countries on the macro level repercussions of UHC.Rieger, M., et al. (2019). "The impact of the Ethiopian health extension program and health development army on maternal mortality: A synthetic control approach." Social Science & Medicine 232: 374-381.The Ethiopian government has implemented nationwide strategies to improve access to basic health services and enhance health outcomes. The Health Extension Program (HEP) launched in 2003, expanded basic health infrastructure and local human resources. In 2011, the government introduced the Health Development Army (HDA). HDA is a women-centered community movement inspired by military structures and discipline. Its special objective is to improve maternal health outcomes. This paper uses a synthetic control approach to assess the effects of HEP and HDA on maternal mortality ratios (MMR). The MMR data are from the Global Burden of Diseases (GBD) database. A pool of 42 Sub-Saharan African countries, covering the period 1990 to 2016, is used to construct a synthetic comparator which displays a mortality trajectory similar to Ethiopia prior to the interventions. On average, since 2004, maternal mortality in the control countries exhibits a moderate downward trend. In Ethiopia, the downward trend is considerably steeper as compared to its synthetic control. By 2016, maternal mortality in Ethiopia was lower by 171 (p-value 0.048) maternal deaths per 100,000 live births as compared to its synthetic control. Between 2003 and 2016, Ethiopia's maternal mortality ratio declined from 728 to 357. These estimates suggest that a substantial proportion of this decline may be attributed to HEP/HDA. The Ethiopian experience of enhancing nation-wide access to and use of maternal health services in a short time-span is remarkable. Whether such a model may be transplanted is an open question.Roesel, F. (2017). "Do mergers of large local governments reduce expenditures? – Evidence from Germany using the synthetic control method." European Journal of Political Economy 50: 22-36.States merge local governments to achieve economies of scale. Little is known to which extent mergers of county-sized local governments reduce expenditures, and influence political outcomes. I use the synthetic control method to identify the effect of mergers of large local governments in Germany (districts) on public expenditures. In 2008, the German state of Saxony reduced the number of districts from 22 to 10. Average district population increased substantially from 113,000 to 290,000 inhabitants. I construct a synthetic counterfactual from states that did not merge districts for years. The results do neither show reductions in total expenditures, nor in expenditures for administration, education, and social care. There seems to be no scale effects in jurisdictions of more than 100,000 inhabitants. By contrast, I find evidence that mergers decreased the number of candidates and voter turnout in district elections while vote shares for populist right-wing parties increased.Singhal, S. and R. Nilakantan (2016). "The economic effects of a counterinsurgency policy in India: A synthetic control analysis." European Journal of Political Economy 45: 1-17.Using the synthetic control method, we analyze the economic effects of a unique counterinsurgency response to the Naxalite insurgency in India. Of all the states affected by Naxalite violence, only one state, Andhra Pradesh, raised a specially trained and equipped police force in 1989 known as the Greyhounds, dedicated to combating the Naxalite insurgency. Compared to a synthetic control region constructed from states affected by Naxalite violence that did not raise a similar police force, we find that the per capita NSDP of Andhra Pradesh increased significantly over the period 1989–2000. Further, we find that the effects on the manufacturing sector are particularly strong. Placebo tests indicate that these results are credible and various difference-in-difference specifications using state and industry level panel data further corroborate these findings.Tveter, E., et al. (2017). "Do Fixed Links Affect Settlement Patterns: A Synthetic Control Approach." Research in Transportation Economics 63: 59-72.This paper evaluates the extent to which transportation projects affect settlement patterns. We consider fixed link projects because they provide a large and swift change in accessibility. We use the synthetic control method and estimate the impacts on settlement patterns for 11 fixed links projects constructed in the period from 1989 to 2008. The synthetic controls are weighted averages of control municipalities with weights chosen to replicate population trends in the pre-fixed link periods. We find clear impacts on settlement patterns for fixed links connecting islands to urban areas and on islands utilizing natural resources, although there are exceptions. In the other cases, the impacts are negligible.Viana, J. H. N., et al. (2018). "Does the World Cup get the economic ball rolling? Evidence from a synthetic control approach." EconomiA 19(3): 330-349.In this paper we analyze the impact of hosting the FIFA Soccer World Cup on GDP per capita in a worldwide sample of countries using a transparent statistical methodology for data-driven case studies the synthetic control method. Using country level annual-data covering all events occurring in the period between 1978 (Argentina) and 2006 (Germany), we show that the estimated average treatment effect was either zero or negative for all but one of the countries analyzed. Our results, therefore, support the general claim that World Cups are not statistically associated to development and economic growth.Wan, S.-K., et al. (2018). "Panel data approach vs synthetic control method." Economics Letters 164: 121-123.We explore the pros and cons of two counterfactual analysis methodologies — the panel data approach (PDA) and the synthetic control method (SCM) through a discussion of the differences in their underlying assumptions and a series of simulations.Zhou, Y. (2018). "Do ideology movements and legal intervention matter: A synthetic control analysis of the Chongqing Model." European Journal of Political Economy 51: 44-56.Institutions have a fundamental influence on the economic performance of a regime. Among the various aspects of institutions, ideology and the legal system are two important ones. Chongqing Municipality, a province-level region in China, experienced such a combination with a unique leader from late 2007 to early 2012. This paper investigates, via the Synthetic Control Method, the economic performance of Chongqing in the last 13 years. In particular, it discusses the impact of the red ideology movements and legal intervention undertaken by Bo Xilai. The results reveal that although his economic policies promoted the Chongqing economy, the Maoist political policies advocated by Bo partially undermined its economic growth in the short run.