A specification test for the propensity score using its distribution conditional on participation
Propensity score matching has become a popular method for the estimation of average treatment effects. In empirical applications, researchers almost always impose a parametric model for the propensity score. This practice raises the possibility that the model for the propensity score is misspecified and therefore the propensity score matching estimator of the average treatment effect may be inconsistent. We show that the common practice of calculating estimates of the densities of the propensity score conditional on the participation decision provides a means for examining whether the propensity score is misspecified. In particular, we derive a restriction between the density of the propensity score among participants and the density among nonparticipants. We show that this restriction between the two conditional densities is equivalent to a particular orthogonality restriction and derive a formal test based upon it. The resulting test is shown via a simulation study to have dramatically greater power than competing tests for many alternatives. The principal disadvantage of this approach is loss of power against some alternatives.
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