Regional Policy Evaluation:Interactive Fixed Effects and Synthetic Controls

Laurent Gobillon, and Thierry Magnac


In this paper, we investigate the use of interactive effect or linear factor models in regional policy evaluation. We contrast treatment effect estimates obtained using Bai (2009) with those obtained using difference in differences and synthetic controls (Abadie and coauthors). We show that difference in differences are generically biased, and we derive support conditions for synthetic controls. We construct Monte Carlo experiments to compare these estimation methods in small samples. As an empirical illustration, we provide an evaluation of the impact on local unemployment of an enterprise zone policy implemented in France in the 1990s.


Policy evaluation; Linear factor models; Synthetic controls; Economic geography; Enterprise zones;


Laurent Gobillon, and Thierry Magnac, Regional Policy Evaluation:Interactive Fixed Effects and Synthetic Controls, TSE Working Paper, n. 13-419, July 2013.

See also

Published in

The Review of Economics and Statistics, vol. 98, n. 3, July 2016, pp. 535–551