Masayuki Kudamatsu's website

Causal Inference with Spatial Data: ArcGIS 10 for Economics Research

This course introduces economists to ArcGIS 10 and Python programming to handle spatial datasets for causal inference in economics research. The course content is updated on 27 July 2018.

NOTE: Press SPACE key to go through slides.

Lecture 1: Introduction

Lecture 2: Spatial Join

Lecture 3: Buffer

Lecture 4: Distance as instruments

Lecture 5: Zonal Statistics

Lecture 6: Elevation

Lecture 7: Spatial Regression Discontinuity Design

Lecture 8: Map Algebra

For students in Osaka University, Oct-Dec 2018

Syllabus (Schedule, Reading List, and Grading Policy) 

For students in Oslo University, Aug 2018

Syllabus (Schedule, Reading List, and Grading Policy) 

Class discussion board

Overview: A summary of the above 8 lectures

These lecture notes were created with reveal.js, a neat HTML5-based presentation slide tool.

Useful web links for using ArcGIS


Nick Eubank "Arcpy Tutorials for Social Scientists" (Zip file containing 3 PDF documents) --- Arcpy is the name of the Python module to execute ArcGIS functions. These tutorials include some useful tips to automate your workflow.

Yale Map Collection “GIS Workshop Materials” --- For most economists, the following three lecture notes are sufficient: (1) “Introduction to GIS Mapping and ESRI’s ArcGIS Software”, (2) “Finding GIS Data & Preparing It For Use”, and (3) “Raster: The ‘Other’ GIS Data.”

Melissa Dell (2009) “GIS Analysis for Applied Economists” --- Topics that I cannot cover in my lectures (reading NetCDF files, measuring distance by taking into account the cost of traveling, etc.) are discussed in this lecture note.

Penn State University Department of Geography (2016) "GEOG 485: GIS Programming and Automation" --- A great introduction to Python for ArcGIS, assuming no prior knowledge on programming.

Dealing with ArcGIS python scripting quirks

The Intersect_Analysis tool: see John Gibson’s message to ArcGIS Desktop Discussion Forums.

The CalculateField_Management tool: see Chris Snyder’s message to ArcGIS Desktop Discussion Forums for adding the area of each polygon to a new field.

Calculation on raster datasets

Josh Lawler (2011) “Introduction to Geographic Information Systems in Forest Resources: Raster Analysis I

Josh Lawler (2011) “Introduction to Geographic Information Systems in Forest Resources: Raster Analysis II


NCSU Libraries (undated) “Geospatial Data Formats” --- If you wonder what a .lyr file is, what an .e00 file is, what an ArcInfo Grid is, etc., this is what to read.

Tim Whiteaker (undated) “Animating NetCDF Data in ArcMap” --- This webpage explains how to read a NetCDF data into ArcMap as a raster dataset.