Bayesian modelling for binary outcomes in the Regression Discontinuity Design


The Regression Discontinuity (RD) design is a quasi-experimental design which emulates a randomised study by exploiting situations where treatment is assigned according to a continuous variable as is common in many drug treatment guidelines. The RD design literature focuses principally on continuous outcomes. In this paper we exploit the link between the RD design and instrumental variables to obtain a causal effect estimator, the risk ratio for the treated (RRT), for the RD design when the outcome is binary. Occasionally the RRT estimator can give negative lower confindence bounds. In the Bayesian framework we impose prior constraints that prevent this from happening. This is novel and cannot be easily reproduced in a frequentist framework. We compare our estimators to those based on estimating equation and generalized methods of moments methods. Based on extensive simulations our methods compare favourably with both methods. We apply our method on a real example to estimate the effect of statins on the probability of Low-density Lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels reaching recommended levels.