Assessing the Impact of Non-Response on the Treatment Effect in the Canadian Self-Sufficiency Experiment
In Canada, a policy aiming at helping single parents on social assistance become selfreliantwas implemented on an experimental basis. The Self-Sufficiency Entry Effects Demonstrationrandomly selected a sample of 4,134 single parents who had applied for welfare betweenJanuary 1994 and March 1995. It turned out only 3,315 took part in the experimentdespite a 50receiving a generous, time-limited, earnings supplement conditional on finding afull-time job and leaving income assistance within a year.The purpose of this paper is to determine whether a non-response rate as high as 20treatmenteffect. We compare the estimated impact of the program using experimental data only tothat obtained using additional data on individuals not taking part in the experiment. We writethe likelihood of various sets of information and obtain relevant estimates of program impacton welfare spell durations. We find strong evidence of non-response bias in the data. Whenwe correct for the bias, we find that estimates that rely on experimental data only significantlyunderestimate the true impact of the program.
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