Natural Experiments: An Overview of Methods, Approaches, and Contributions to Public Health Intervention Research

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Citation: Peter Craig, Srinivasa Vittal Katikireddi, Alastair Leyland, Frank Popham Natural Experiments: An Overview of Methods, Approaches, and Contributions to Public Health Intervention Research.


Wikidata: Q29227440

Download: https://www.annualreviews.org/doi/full/10.1146/annurev-publhealth-031816-044327

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Summary:

Defines natural experiments broadly to include any event not under the control of a researcher that divides a population into exposed and unexposed groups. Distinguishes between experiments (eg randomized controlled trials) and observational studies (which include natural experiments). Describe several methods of evaluating natural experiments:

  • Regression Adjustment
  • Propensity Score–Based Methods
  • Difference-in-Differences
  • Interrupted Time Series
  • Synthetic Controls
  • Instrumental Variables
  • Regression Discontinuity

Causal inference from natural experiments can be strengthened, eg with a clear theoretical understanding of the intervention and consideration of alternative explanations.