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Inference with Imperfect Randomization: The Case of the Perry Preschool Program

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Author Info

  • Heckman, James J.

    ()
    (University of Chicago)

  • Pinto, Rodrigo

    ()
    (University of Chicago)

  • Shaikh, Azeem M.

    ()
    (University of Chicago)

  • Yavitz, Adam

    ()
    (University of Chicago)

Abstract

This paper considers the problem of making inferences about the effects of a program on multiple outcomes when the assignment of treatment status is imperfectly randomized. By imperfect randomization we mean that treatment status is reassigned after an initial randomization on the basis of characteristics that may be observed or unobserved by the analyst. We develop a partial identification approach to this problem that makes use of information limiting the extent to which randomization is imperfect to show that it is still possible to make nontrivial inferences about the effects of the program in such settings. We consider a family of null hypotheses in which each null hypothesis specifies that the program has no effect on one of several outcomes of interest. Under weak assumptions, we construct a procedure for testing this family of null hypotheses in a way that controls the familywise error rate – the probability of even one false rejection – infinite samples. We develop our methodology in the context of a reanalysis of the HighScope Perry Preschool program. We find statistically significant effects of the program on a number of different outcomes of interest, including outcomes related to criminal activity for males and females, even after accounting for the imperfectness of the randomization and the multiplicity of null hypotheses.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 5625.

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Length: 28 pages
Date of creation: Apr 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp5625

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Keywords: multiple testing; multiple outcomes; randomized trial; randomization tests; imperfect randomization; Perry Preschool Program; program evaluation; familywise error rate; exact inference; partial identification;

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Cited by:
  1. Daniela Del Boca & Christopher Flinn & Matthew Wiswall, 2014. "Transfers to Households with Children and Child Development," CHILD Working Papers Series, Centre for Household, Income, Labour and Demographic Economics (CHILD) - CCA 25, Centre for Household, Income, Labour and Demographic Economics (CHILD) - CCA.
  2. repec:crs:wpaper:2013-10 is not listed on IDEAS
  3. Aviva Aron-Dine & Liran Einav & Amy Finkelstein, 2012. "The RAND Health Insurance Experiment, Three Decades Later," NBER Working Papers 18642, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Asoni, Andrea, 2011. "Intelligence, Self-confidence and Entrepreneurship," Working Paper Series, Research Institute of Industrial Economics 887, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
  5. Aviva Aron-Dine & Liran Einav & Amy Finkelstein, 2012. "The RAND Health Insurance Experiment, Three Decades Later," Discussion Papers, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research 12-007, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.

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