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Nonparametric Tests for Treatment Effect Heterogeneity

  • Richard K. Crump

    (Department of Economics, University of California, Berkeley)

  • V. Joseph Hotz

    (Department of Economics, Duke University, and NBER)

  • Guido W. Imbens

    (Department of Economics, Harvard University, and NBER)

  • Oscar A. Mitnik

    (Department of Economics, University of Miami, and IZA)

In this paper we develop two nonparametric tests of treatment effect heterogeneity. The first test is for the null hypothesis that the treatment has a zero average effect for all subpopulations defined by covariates. The second test is for the null hypothesis that the average effect conditional on the covariates is identical for all subpopulations, that is, that there is no heterogeneity in average treatment effects by covariates. We derive tests that are straightforward to implement and illustrate the use of these tests on data from two sets of experimental evaluations of the effects of welfare-to-work programs. Copyright by the President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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File URL: http://www.mitpressjournals.org/doi/pdf/10.1162/rest.90.3.389
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Article provided by MIT Press in its journal The Review of Economics and Statistics.

Volume (Year): 90 (2008)
Issue (Month): 3 (August)
Pages: 389-405

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Handle: RePEc:tpr:restat:v:90:y:2008:i:3:p:389-405
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  1. Victor Chernozhukov & Christian Hansen, 2005. "An IV Model of Quantile Treatment Effects," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 73(1), pages 245-261, 01.
  2. Guido W. Imbens, 2004. "Nonparametric Estimation of Average Treatment Effects Under Exogeneity: A Review," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 86(1), pages 4-29, February.
  3. Keisuke Hirano & Guido W. Imbens & Geert Ridder, 2000. "Efficient Estimation of Average Treatment Effects Using the Estimated Propensity Score," NBER Technical Working Papers 0251, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Crump, Richard K. & Hotz, V. Joseph & Imbens, Guido W. & Mitnik, Oscar A., 2006. "Moving the Goalposts: Addressing Limited Overlap in Estimation of Average Treatment Effects by Changing the Estimand," IZA Discussion Papers 2347, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. V. Joseph Hotz & Guido W. Imbens & Julie H. Mortimer, 1999. "Predicting the Efficacy of Future Training Programs Using Past Experiences," NBER Technical Working Papers 0238, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Heckman, James J & Ichimura, Hidehiko & Todd, Petra, 1998. "Matching as an Econometric Evaluation Estimator," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 65(2), pages 261-94, April.
  7. Hong, Yongmiao & White, Halbert, 1995. "Consistent Specification Testing via Nonparametric Series Regression," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 63(5), pages 1133-59, September.
  8. de Jong, R.M. & Bierens, H.J., 1994. "On the Limit Behavior of a Chi-Square Type Test if the Number of Conditional Moments Tested Approaches Infinity," Econometric Theory, Cambridge University Press, vol. 10(01), pages 70-90, March.
  9. Xiaohong Chen & Han Hong & Alessandro Tarozzi, 2008. "Semiparametric Efficiency in GMM Models of Nonclassical Measurement Errors, Missing Data and Treatment Effects," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1644, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  10. Sergio Firpo, 2007. "Efficient Semiparametric Estimation of Quantile Treatment Effects," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 75(1), pages 259-276, 01.
  11. Richard Blundell & Monica Costa Dias, 2009. "Alternative Approaches to Evaluation in Empirical Microeconomics," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 44(3).
  12. Guido W. Imbens & Whitney Newey & Geert Ridder, 2005. "Mean-square-error Calculations for Average Treatment Effects," IEPR Working Papers 05.34, Institute of Economic Policy Research (IEPR).
  13. Joseph Hotz, V. & Imbens, Guido W. & Mortimer, Julie H., 2005. "Predicting the efficacy of future training programs using past experiences at other locations," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 125(1-2), pages 241-270.
  14. Jinyong Hahn, 1998. "On the Role of the Propensity Score in Efficient Semiparametric Estimation of Average Treatment Effects," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 66(2), pages 315-332, March.
  15. Michael Lechner, 2002. "Some practical issues in the evaluation of heterogeneous labour market programmes by matching methods," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 165(1), pages 59-82.
  16. Richard K. Crump & V. Joseph Hotz & Guido W. Imbens & Oscar A. Mitnik, 2006. "Moving the Goalposts: Addressing Limited Overlap in the Estimation of Average Treatment Effects by Changing the Estimand," NBER Technical Working Papers 0330, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Marianne P. Bitler & Jonah B. Gelbach & Hilary W. Hoynes, 2006. "What Mean Impacts Miss: Distributional Effects of Welfare Reform Experiments," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(4), pages 988-1012, September.
  18. Bierens, Herman J, 1990. "A Consistent Conditional Moment Test of Functional Form," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 58(6), pages 1443-58, November.
  19. Härdle, W. & Marron, S.J., . "Semiparametric comparison of regression curves," CORE Discussion Papers RP -890, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  20. Enno Mammen, . "Comparing nonparametric versus parametric regression fits," Statistic und Oekonometrie 9205, Humboldt Universitaet Berlin.
  21. Alberto Abadie & Joshua D. Angrist & Guido W. Imbens, 1998. "Instrumental Variables Estimation of Quantile Treatment Effects," NBER Technical Working Papers 0229, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  22. Bierens, Herman J., 1982. "Consistent model specification tests," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 20(1), pages 105-134, October.
  23. V. Joseph Hotz & Guido W. Imbens & Jacob A. Klerman, 2006. "Evaluating the Differential Effects of Alternative Welfare-to-Work Training Components: A Reanalysis of the California GAIN Program," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 24(3), pages 521-566, July.
  24. Abadie A., 2002. "Bootstrap Tests for Distributional Treatment Effects in Instrumental Variable Models," Journal of the American Statistical Association, American Statistical Association, vol. 97, pages 284-292, March.
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