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Random Recursive Partitioning: a matching method for the estimation of the average treatment effect

  • Giuseppe Porro

    (Department of Economics and Statistics, University of Trieste, P.le Europa 1, I-34127 Trieste, Italy)

  • Stefano Maria Iacus

    (Department of Economics, Business and Statistics, University of Milan, Via Conservatorio 7, I-20122 Milano, Italy)

In this paper we introduce the Random Recursive Partitioning (RRP) matching method. RRP generates a proximity matrix which might be useful in econometric applications like average treatment effect estimation. RRP is a Monte Carlo method that randomly generates non-empty recursive partitions of the data and evaluates the proximity between two observations as the empirical frequency they fall in a same cell of these random partitions over all Monte Carlo replications. From the proximity matrix it is possible to derive both graphical and analytical tools to evaluate the extent of the common support between data sets. The RRP method is “honest” in that it does not match observations “at any cost”: if data sets are separated, the method clearly states it. The match obtained with RRP is invariant under monotonic transformation of the data. Average treatment effect estimators derived from the proximity matrix seem to be competitive compared to more commonly used estimators. RRP method does not require a particular structure of the data and for this reason it can be applied when distances like Mahalanobis or Euclidean are not suitable, in the presence of missing data or when the estimated propensity score is too sensitive to model specifications. Copyright © 2008 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1002/jae.1026
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File URL: http://qed.econ.queensu.ca:80/jae/2009-v24.1/
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Article provided by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. in its journal Journal of Applied Econometrics.

Volume (Year): 24 (2009)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
Pages: 163-185

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Handle: RePEc:jae:japmet:v:24:y:2009:i:1:p:163-185
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  1. Heckman, James J & Ichimura, Hidehiko & Todd, Petra E, 1997. "Matching as an Econometric Evaluation Estimator: Evidence from Evaluating a Job Training Programme," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 64(4), pages 605-54, October.
  2. A. Smith, Jeffrey & E. Todd, Petra, 2005. "Does matching overcome LaLonde's critique of nonexperimental estimators?," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 125(1-2), pages 305-353.
  3. Dehejia, Rajeev, 2005. "Practical propensity score matching: a reply to Smith and Todd," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 125(1-2), pages 355-364.
  4. Smith, Jeffrey & Todd, Petra, 2005. "Rejoinder," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 125(1-2), pages 365-375.
  5. LaLonde, Robert J, 1986. "Evaluating the Econometric Evaluations of Training Programs with Experimental Data," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(4), pages 604-20, September.
  6. Alberto Abadie & Guido W. Imbens, 2006. "Large Sample Properties of Matching Estimators for Average Treatment Effects," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 74(1), pages 235-267, 01.
  7. James Heckman & Hidehiko Ichimura & Jeffrey Smith & Petra Todd, 1998. "Characterizing Selection Bias Using Experimental Data," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 66(5), pages 1017-1098, September.
  8. Keisuke Hirano & Guido W. Imbens & Geert Ridder, 2003. "Efficient Estimation of Average Treatment Effects Using the Estimated Propensity Score," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(4), pages 1161-1189, 07.
  9. Sascha O. Becker & Andrea Ichino, 2002. "Estimation of average treatment effects based on propensity scores," Stata Journal, StataCorp LP, vol. 2(4), pages 358-377, November.
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