Unexpected Event during Survey Design


Welcome to the accompanying website for the article Unexpected Event during Survey Design: Promise and Pitfalls for Causal Inference (Political Analysis, 2019). Here you can access the materials related with the article, an archive of published studies that use the UESD method and some useful materials for the researchers that plan to use the method to identify causal effects.


An increasing number of studies exploit the occurrence of unexpected events during the fieldwork of public opinion surveys to estimate causal effects. In this paper we discuss the use of this identification strategy based on unforeseen and salient events that split the sample of respondents into treatment and control groups: the Unexpected Event during Surveys Design (UESD). In particular we focus on the assumptions under which unexpected events can be exploited to estimate causal effects and we discuss potential threats to identification, paying especial attention to the observable and testable implications of these assumptions. We propose a series of best practices in the form of various estimation strategies and robustness checks that can be used to lend credibility to the causal estimates. Drawing on data from the European Social Survey we illustrate the discussion of this method with an original study of the impact of the Charlie Hebdo terrorist attacks (Paris, 01/07/2015) on French citizens’ satisfaction with their national government.