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Matching Methods in Practice: Three Examples

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  • Guido W. Imbens

Abstract

There is a large theoretical literature on methods for estimating causal effects under unconfoundedness, exogeneity, or selection-on-observables type assumptions using matching or propensity score methods. Much of this literature is highly technical and has not made inroads into empirical practice where many researchers continue to use simple methods such as ordinary least squares regression even in settings where those methods do not have attractive properties. In this paper, I discuss some of the lessons for practice from the theoretical literature and provide detailed recommendations on what to do. I illustrate the recommendations with three detailed applications.

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  • Guido W. Imbens, 2015. "Matching Methods in Practice: Three Examples," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 50(2), pages 373-419.
  • Handle: RePEc:uwp:jhriss:v:50:y:2015:i:2:p:373-419
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    1. LaLonde, Robert J, 1986. "Evaluating the Econometric Evaluations of Training Programs with Experimental Data," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(4), pages 604-620, September.
    2. Jinyong Hahn & Geert Ridder, 2013. "Asymptotic Variance of Semiparametric Estimators With Generated Regressors," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 81(1), pages 315-340, January.
    3. Hainmueller, Jens, 2012. "Entropy Balancing for Causal Effects: A Multivariate Reweighting Method to Produce Balanced Samples in Observational Studies," Political Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 20(1), pages 25-46, January.
    4. Alexandre Belloni & Victor Chernozhukov & Christian Hansen, 2011. "Inference on Treatment Effects After Selection Amongst High-Dimensional Controls," Papers 1201.0224, arXiv.org, revised May 2012.
    5. J.J. Heckman & E.E. Leamer (ed.), 2007. "Handbook of Econometrics," Handbook of Econometrics, Elsevier, edition 1, volume 6, number 6b.
    6. 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, July.
    7. Joshua D. Angrist & Jörn-Steffen Pischke, 2009. "Mostly Harmless Econometrics: An Empiricist's Companion," Economics Books, Princeton University Press, edition 1, number 8769.
    8. Millimet, Daniel L. & Tchernis, Rusty, 2009. "On the Specification of Propensity Scores, With Applications to the Analysis of Trade Policies," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 27(3), pages 397-415.
    9. Guido W. Imbens & Donald B. Rubin & Bruce I. Sacerdote, 2001. "Estimating the Effect of Unearned Income on Labor Earnings, Savings, and Consumption: Evidence from a Survey of Lottery Players," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(4), pages 778-794, September.
    10. Alberto Abadie & Guido W. Imbens, 2008. "On the Failure of the Bootstrap for Matching Estimators," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 76(6), pages 1537-1557, November.
    11. Heckman, J.J. & Hotz, V.J., 1988. "Choosing Among Alternative Nonexperimental Methods For Estimating The Impact Of Social Programs: The Case Of Manpower Training," University of Chicago - Economics Research Center 88-12, Chicago - Economics Research Center.
    12. 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.
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    15. 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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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C01 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - General - - - Econometrics
    • C14 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Semiparametric and Nonparametric Methods: General
    • C21 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Cross-Sectional Models; Spatial Models; Treatment Effect Models
    • C52 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric Modeling - - - Model Evaluation, Validation, and Selection

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