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Treatment effect bounds: An application to Swan–Ganz catheterization

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  • Bhattacharya, Jay
  • Shaikh, Azeem M.
  • Vytlacil, Edward

Abstract

We reanalyze data from the observational study by Connors et al. (1996) on the impact of Swan–Ganz catheterization on mortality outcomes. The study by Connors et al. (1996) assumes that there are no unobserved differences between patients who are catheterized and patients who are not catheterized and finds that catheterization increases patient mortality. We instead allow for such differences between patients by implementing both the instrumental variable bounds of Manski (1990), which only exploits an instrumental variable, and the bounds of Shaikh and Vytlacil (2011), which exploit mild nonparametric, structural assumptions in addition to an instrumental variable. We propose and justify the use of indicators of weekday admission as an instrument for catheterization in this context. We find that in our application, the Manski (1990) bounds do not indicate whether catheterization increases or decreases mortality, where as the Shaikh and Vytlacil (2011) bounds reveal that at least for some diagnoses, Swan–Ganz catheterization reduces mortality at 7 days after catheterization. We show that the bounds of Shaikh and Vytlacil (2011) remain valid under even weaker assumptions than those described in Shaikh and Vytlacil (2011). We also extend the analysis to exploit a further nonparametric, structural assumption–that doctors catheterize individuals with systematically worse latent health–and find that this assumption further narrows these bounds and strengthens our conclusions. In our analysis, we construct confidence regions using the methodology developed in Romano and Shaikh (2008). We show in particular that the confidence regions are uniformly consistent in level over a large class of possible distributions for the observed data that include distributions where the instrument is arbitrarily “weak”.

Suggested Citation

  • Bhattacharya, Jay & Shaikh, Azeem M. & Vytlacil, Edward, 2012. "Treatment effect bounds: An application to Swan–Ganz catheterization," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 168(2), pages 223-243.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:econom:v:168:y:2012:i:2:p:223-243
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jeconom.2012.01.001
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Michael Gerfin & Martin Schellhorn, 2006. "Nonparametric bounds on the effect of deductibles in health care insurance on doctor visits - Swiss evidence," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 15(9), pages 1011-1020.
    2. Chen, Xuan & Flores, Carlos A. & Flores-Lagunes, Alfonso, 2015. "Going Beyond LATE: Bounding Average Treatment Effects of Job Corps Training," IZA Discussion Papers 9511, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    3. Jay Bhattacharya & Adam Isen, 2008. "On Inferring Demand for Health Care in the Presence of Anchoring, Acquiescence, and Selection Biases," NBER Working Papers 13865, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. John List & Azeem Shaikh & Yang Xu, 2016. "Multiple Hypothesis Testing in Experimental Economics," Artefactual Field Experiments 00402, The Field Experiments Website.
    5. Jay Bhattacharya & William B. Vogt, 2007. "Do Instrumental Variables Belong in Propensity Scores?," NBER Technical Working Papers 0343, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Partial identification; Average treatment effect; Swan–Ganz catheterization; Threshold crossing model; Simultaneous equation model;

    JEL classification:

    • C1 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General
    • I1 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health

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