Triple differences has become a widely used estimator in empirical work. A close reading of articles in top economics journals reveals that the use of the estimator to a large extent rests on intuition. The identifying assumptions are neither formally derived nor generally agreed on. We give a complete presentation of the triple difference estimator, and show that even though the estimator can be computed as the difference between two difference-in-differences estimators, it does not require two parallel trend assumptions to have a causal interpretation. The reason is that the difference between two biased difference-in-difference estimators will be unbiased as long as the bias is the same in both estimators. This requires only one parallel trend assumption to hold.
Joint with; Jarle Møen.