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Adaptive Experimental Design Using the Propensity Score

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  • Hahn, Jinyong
  • Hirano, Keisuke
  • Karlan, Dean

Abstract

Many social experiments are run in multiple waves or replicate earlier social experiments. In principle, the sampling design can be modified in later stages or replications to allow for more efficient estimation of causal effects. We consider the design of a two-stage experiment for estimating an average treatment effect when covariate information is available for experimental subjects. We use data from the first stage to choose a conditional treatment assignment rule for units in the second stage of the experiment. This amounts to choosing the propensity score , the conditional probability of treatment given covariates. We propose to select the propensity score to minimize the asymptotic variance bound for estimating the average treatment effect. Our procedure can be implemented simply using standard statistical software and has attractive large-sample properties.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by American Statistical Association in its journal Journal of Business and Economic Statistics.

Volume (Year): 29 (2011)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
Pages: 96-108

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Handle: RePEc:bes:jnlbes:v:29:i:1:y:2011:p:96-108

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References

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  1. Imbens, Guido W & Angrist, Joshua D, 1994. "Identification and Estimation of Local Average Treatment Effects," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(2), pages 467-75, March.
  2. Dean Karlan & John A. List, 2007. "Does Price Matter in Charitable Giving? Evidence from a Large-Scale Natural Field Experiment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(5), pages 1774-1793, December.
  3. Keisuke Hirano & Guido W. Imbens & Geert Ridder, 2000. "Efficient Estimation of Average Treatment Effects Using the Estimated Propensity Score," NBER Technical Working Papers 0251, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Jinyong Hahn, 1998. "On the Role of the Propensity Score in Efficient Semiparametric Estimation of Average Treatment Effects," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 66(2), pages 315-332, March.
  5. Alfonso Flores-Lagunes & Arturo Gonzalez & Todd Neumann, 2010. "Learning But Not Earning? The Impact Of Job Corps Training On Hispanic Youth," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 48(3), pages 651-667, 07.
  6. Duncan I. Simester & Peng Sun & John N. Tsitsiklis, 2006. "Dynamic Catalog Mailing Policies," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 52(5), pages 683-696, May.
  7. Chamberlain, Gary, 1986. "Asymptotic efficiency in semi-parametric models with censoring," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 32(2), pages 189-218, July.
  8. Dean S. Karlan & Jonathan Zinman, 2008. "Credit Elasticities in Less-Developed Economies: Implications for Microfinance," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(3), pages 1040-68, June.
  9. Flores-Lagunes, Alfonso & Gonzalez, Arturo & Neumann, Todd C., 2005. "Learning but Not Earning? The Value of Job Corps Training for Hispanic Youths," IZA Discussion Papers 1638, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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Cited by:
  1. Kyungchul Song, 2009. "Efficient Estimation of Average Treatment Effects under Treatment-Based Sampling," PIER Working Paper Archive 09-011, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania.
  2. John List & Sally Sadoff & Mathis Wagner, 2010. "So you want to run an experiment, now what? Some simple rules of thumb for optimal experimental design," Artefactual Field Experiments 00094, The Field Experiments Website.
  3. Fink, Günther & McConnell, Margaret & Vollmer, Sebastian, 2011. "Testing for Heterogeneous Treatment Effects in Experimental Data: False Discovery Risks and Correction Procedures," Hannover Economic Papers (HEP) dp-477, Leibniz Universität Hannover, Wirtschaftswissenschaftliche Fakultät.
  4. Debopam Bhattacharya & Pascaline Dupas, 2008. "Inferring Welfare Maximizing Treatment Assignment under Budget Constraints," NBER Working Papers 14447, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Timothy B. Armstrong & Shu Shen, 2013. "Inference on Optimal Treatment Assignments," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1927R, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University, revised Apr 2014.
  6. Timothy B. Armstrong & Shu Shen, 2013. "Inference on Optimal Treatment Assignments," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1927, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.

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