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How do we know we need to control for selectivity?

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Author Info

  • FFF1Susan NNN1Watkins

    (University of Pennsylvania)

  • FFF2Ina NNN2Warriner

    (World Health Organization)

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    Abstract

    In the previous two decades there has been considerable progress in recognizing biases due to selectivity that are associated with the use of observational data to make causal inferences and in developing models to control for these biases statistically. Often there is a difference between estimates produced by models that attempt to control for selectivity and those that do not. Since a difference alone does not persuasively argue for one model over another, analysts typically rely on their a priori expectations of selectivity based on theory or intuition. Here we suggest that the analyst’s judgement about the appropriate analytical model may be informed by simple descriptive statistics and qualitative data. We use data on social networks collected in rural Kenya, since the analysis of networks is likely to raise questions of selectivity, and simple examples. Although we do not provide general rules for assessing when models that control for selectivity should be used, we conclude by recommending that analysts inform their judgement rather than rely on theory and intuition to justify controlling for selectivity. Although our data are particular, the implications of our approach are general, since a priori evaluations of the credibility of assumptions on which analytic models are based can be made in other settings and for other research questions.

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    File URL: http://www.demographic-research.org/special/1/4/s1-4.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany in its journal Demographic Research Special Collections.

    Volume (Year): 1 (2003)
    Issue (Month): 4 (September)
    Pages: 109-142

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    Handle: RePEc:dem:drspec:v:1:y:2003:i:4

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    Web page: http://www.demogr.mpg.de/

    Related research

    Keywords: AIDS/HIV; family planning; Kenya; selection; social network; social networks;

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    References

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    Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
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    1. repec:att:wimass:9526 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Brock, William A & Durlauf, Steven N, 2001. "Discrete Choice with Social Interactions," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 68(2), pages 235-60, April.
    3. Alderman, Harold & Watkins, Susan Cotts & Kohler, Hans-Peter & Maluccio, John A. & Behrman, Jere R., 2000. "Attrition in longitudinal household survey data," FCND discussion papers 96, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    4. Hans-Peter Kohler & Jere R. Behrman & Susan Cotts Watkins, 1999. "The structure of social networks and fertility decisions: evidence from S. Nyanza District, Kenya," MPIDR Working Papers WP-1999-005, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
    5. Christiaensen, Luc J. M. & Hoddinott, John & Bergeron, Gilles, 2000. "Comparing village characteristics derived from rapid appraisals and household surveys," FCND briefs 91, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    6. repec:att:wimass:9217 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Valente, Thomas W. & Watkins, Susan C. & Jato, Miriam N. & Van Der Straten, Ariane & Tsitsol, Louis-Philippe M., 1997. "Social network associations with contraceptive use among Cameroonian women in voluntary associations," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 45(5), pages 677-687, September.
    8. Hans-Peter Kohler & Jere R. Behrman & Susan Watkins, 2000. "Empirical Assessments of Social Networks, Fertility and Family Planning Programs," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 3(7), September.
    9. Susan E. Short & Feinian Chen & Barbara Entwisle & Zhai Fengying, 2002. "Maternal Work and Child Care in China: A Multi-Method Analysis," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 28(1), pages 31-57.
    10. Manski, C.F. & Nagin, D.S., 1996. "Bounding Disagreements About Treatment Effects: A Case Study of Sentencing and Recidivism," Working papers 9526r, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
    11. FFF1Christoph NNN1Bühler & FFF2Hans-Peter NNN2Kohler, 2003. "Talking about AIDS," Demographic Research Special Collections, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 1(13), pages 397-438, September.
    12. Jere Behrman & Hans-Peter Kohler & Susan Watkins, 2002. "Social networks and changes in contraceptive use over time: Evidence from a longitudinal study in rural Kenya," Demography, Springer, vol. 39(4), pages 713-738, November.
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    Cited by:
    1. FFF1Christoph NNN1Bühler & FFF2Hans-Peter NNN2Kohler, 2003. "Talking about AIDS," Demographic Research Special Collections, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 1(13), pages 397-438, September.
    2. Jimi Adams & Jenny Trinitapoli, 2009. "The Malawi Religion Project:," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 21(10), pages 255-288, September.

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