The triple difference estimator

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Triple difference has become a widely used estimator in empirical work. A close reading of articles in top economics journals reveals that the use of the estimator to a large extent rests on intuition. The identifying assumptions are neither formally derived nor generally agreed on. We give a complete presentation of the triple difference estimator, and show that even though the estimator can be computed as the difference between two difference-in-differences estimators, it does not require two parallel trend assumptions to have a causal interpretation. The reason is that the difference between two biased difference-in-differences estimators will be unbiased as long as the bias is the same in both estimators. This requires only one parallel trend assumption to hold.




Olden, A., & Møen, J. (2022). The triple difference estimator. Econometrics Journal, 25(3), 531–553.

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