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Non-Parametric Inference for the Effect of a Treatment on Survival Times with Application in the Health and Social Sciences

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Author Info

  • de Luna, Xavier

    ()
    (Umeå University)

  • Johansson, Per

    ()
    (IFAU)

Abstract

In this paper we perform inference on the effect of a treatment on survival times in studies where the treatment assignment is not randomized and the assignment time is not known in advance. Two such studies are discussed: a heart transplant program and a study of Swedish unemployed eligible for employment subsidy. We estimate survival functions on a treated and a control group which are made comparable through matching on observed covariates. The inference is performed by conditioning on waiting time to treatment, that is time between the entrance in the study and treatment. This can be done only when sufficient data is available. In other cases, averaging over waiting times is a possibility, although the classical interpretation of the estimated survival functions is lost unless hazards are not functions of waiting time. To show unbiasedness and to obtain an estimator of the variance, we build on the potential outcome framework, which was introduced by J. Neyman in the context of randomized experiments, and adapted to observational studies by D. B. Rubin. Our approach does not make parametric or distributional assumptions. In particular, we do not assume proportionality of the hazards compared. Small sample performance of the estimator and a derived test of no treatment effect are studied in a Monte Carlo study.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 3966.

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Length: 29 pages
Date of creation: Jan 2009
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Journal of Statistical Planning and Inference, 2010, 140 (7), 2122-2137
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp3966

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Related research

Keywords: employment subsidy; heart transplant; matching estimator; observational study; potential outcome; survival function;

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Cited by:
  1. de Luna, Xavier & Johansson, Per, 2012. "Testing for nonparametric identification of causal effects in the presence of a quasi-instrument," Working Paper Series 2012:14, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
  2. Lee, Myoung-jae & Johansson, Per, 2013. "A Simple Approach to Treatment Effects on Durations When the Treatment Timing is Chosen," IZA Discussion Papers 7249, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Anders Stenberg & Xavier Luna & Olle Westerlund, 2012. "Can adult education delay retirement from the labour market?," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 25(2), pages 677-696, January.
  4. Aderonke Osikominu, 2012. "Quick job entry or long-term human capital development? The dynamic effects of alternative training schemes," ECON - Working Papers 076, Department of Economics - University of Zurich.
  5. Martin Biewen & Bernd Fitzenberger & Aderonke Osikominu & Marie Paul, 2012. "The effectiveness of public sponsored training revisited: The importance of data and methodological choices," ECON - Working Papers 091, Department of Economics - University of Zurich.

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