The challenge of measuring the causal effect of an intervention

5 December 2019
Versione stampabile

Venue: Palazzo di Sociologia, via Verdi 26 (Trento) – Meeting Room (first floor)
Time: 2 p.m. 


  • Enrico Rettore


  • Mario Diani

I introduce in a non-technical way the logic and the main methods for evaluating the effect of an intervention. The counterfactual event is the benchmark against which to compare what happens in the presence of the intervention. The counterfactual event being unobservable, a group of subjects unexposed to the intervention needs to be identified – the comparison group – to suitably approximate it. Four case studies - training program, migrants and crime, minimum wage regulation, ALPM for the mentally ill - briefly illustrate the main classes of methods in use nowadays. Then, I conclude by stressing the relevance of designing the evaluation in advance, identifying the comparison group and planning the operations for collecting all the relevant information.