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Inference on Optimal Treatment Assignments

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Abstract

We consider inference on optimal treatment assignments. Our methods are the first to allow for inference on the treatment assignment rule that would be optimal given knowledge of the population treatment effect in a general setting. The procedure uses multiple hypothesis testing methods to determine a subset of the population for which assignment to treatment can be determined to be optimal after conditioning on all available information, with a prespecified level of confidence. A monte carlo study confirms that the procedure has good small sample behavior. We apply the method to the Mexican conditional cash transfer program Progresa. We demonstrate how the method can be used to design efficient welfare programs by selecting the right beneficiaries and statistically quantifying how strong the evidence is in favor of treating these selected individuals.

Suggested Citation

  • Timothy B. Armstrong & Shu Shen, 2013. "Inference on Optimal Treatment Assignments," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1927, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  • Handle: RePEc:cwl:cwldpp:1927
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    File URL: http://cowles.yale.edu/sites/default/files/files/pub/d19/d1927.pdf
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    1. Jinyong Hahn & Keisuke Hirano & Dean Karlan, 2011. "Adaptive Experimental Design Using the Propensity Score," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 29(1), pages 96-108, January.
    2. Stoye, Jörg, 2009. "Minimax regret treatment choice with finite samples," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 151(1), pages 70-81, July.
    3. Richard K. Crump & V. Joseph Hotz & Guido W. Imbens & Oscar A. Mitnik, 2008. "Nonparametric Tests for Treatment Effect Heterogeneity," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 90(3), pages 389-405, August.
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    5. A. Colin Cameron & Jonah B. Gelbach & Douglas L. Miller, 2008. "Bootstrap-Based Improvements for Inference with Clustered Errors," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 90(3), pages 414-427, August.
    6. Bhattacharya, Debopam & Dupas, Pascaline, 2012. "Inferring welfare maximizing treatment assignment under budget constraints," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 167(1), pages 168-196.
    7. Charles F. Manski, 2004. "Statistical Treatment Rules for Heterogeneous Populations," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 72(4), pages 1221-1246, July.
    8. Tetenov, Aleksey, 2012. "Statistical treatment choice based on asymmetric minimax regret criteria," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 166(1), pages 157-165.
    9. Kasy, Maximilian, 2016. "Why Experimenters Might Not Always Want to Randomize, and What They Could Do Instead," Political Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 24(03), pages 324-338, June.
    10. 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.
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    12. Paul Schultz, T., 2004. "School subsidies for the poor: evaluating the Mexican Progresa poverty program," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 74(1), pages 199-250, June.
    13. Victor Chernozhukov & Han Hong & Elie Tamer, 2007. "Estimation and Confidence Regions for Parameter Sets in Econometric Models," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 75(5), pages 1243-1284, September.
    14. Hayfield, Tristen & Racine, Jeffrey S., 2008. "Nonparametric Econometrics: The np Package," Journal of Statistical Software, Foundation for Open Access Statistics, vol. 27(i05).
    15. repec:idb:brikps:77778 is not listed on IDEAS
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Treatment assignment; Multiple testing;

    JEL classification:

    • C10 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - General
    • C18 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Methodolical Issues: General

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