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I4R Discussion Paper Series #17


Onur Altindag (Bentley University), Bilge Erten (Northeastern University), Pinar Keskin (Wellesley College)

A Reply to Comment by Bonander et al. (2023)

In Altindag et al. (2022), we estimate the effects of an age-specific lockdown policy on mobility and mental health outcomes among adults aged 65 and older in Turkey using a regression discontinuity design. Bonander et al. (2023) successfully replicate all our main findings. They argue that the estimates for mobility outcomes are all robust to alternative sensitivity checks while some of the estimates for mental health—which were statistically significant around the 5-9 percent level—lose significance at the conventional level of 10 percent in the more conservative specifications. In this reply, we provide approximately 7,000 additional estimates that comprise a near universe of RD estimates for all our outcomes, each possible monthly bandwidth, and each possible combination of covariate adjustment, kernel selection, estimation methodology, standard error adjustment, and kernel weighting selection. This comprehensive analysis shows that our original results are robust to these choices. We show that Bonander et al. (2023) rely on a selection of very narrow bandwidths that produce highly sensitive and uninformative estimates due to overfitting. We also show that Bonander et al. (2023) report imprecise estimates, which are outliers in the distribution of all estimates that can be reported. We conclude that broader statistical tests are more informative for robustness checks.