Handbooks of Research Methods and Applications series
Edited by Frederic S. Lee and Bruce Cronin
Chapter 27: The use of quasi-experimental design in urban and regional policy research and political economy
There are times when due to a lack of data or the impossibility of random assignment of cases, a researcher is limited in the use of the usual statistical and experimental methods to assess a particular intervention or ‘treatment’ given to subjects or to a target group or region. An assessment technique often used is quasi-experimental design, whereby although random assignment does not occur, threats to validity are reduced by comparing cases which are as similar as possible. One group becomes a quasi-experimental group which has received some form of ‘treatment’ whereas another is a comparison group which has not received the treatment. Such a research design is necessary when certain economic events occur or when economic development projects or new policies are undertaken in urban and regional economies, and there exist no two subregions which are exactly the same for the purposes of evaluating the effect of the events, projects or policies. Quasi-experimental design offers a solution for assessing the impacts of different urban and regional phenomena.
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