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Adaptive Experimental Design Using the Propensity Score

  • Hahn, Jinyong

    (UCLA)

  • Hirano, Keisuke

    (U AZ)

  • Karlan, Dean

    (Yale University and MIT Jameel Poverty Action Lab)

Many social experiments are run in multiple waves, or are replications of earlier social experiments. In principle, the sampling design can be modified in later stages or replications to allow for more efficient estimation of causal effects. We consider the design of a two-stage experiment for estimating an average treatment effect, when covariate information is available for experimental subjects. We use data from the first stage to choose a conditional treatment assignment rule for units in the second stage of the experiment. This amounts to choosing the propensity score, the conditional probability of treatment given covariates. We propose to select the propensity score to minimize the asymptotic variance bound for estimating the average treatment effect. Our procedure can be implemented simply using standard statistical software and has attractive large-sample properties.

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Paper provided by Yale University, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 59.

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Date of creation: Jan 2009
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Handle: RePEc:ecl:yaleco:59
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Web page: http://www.econ.yale.edu/ddp/

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  1. 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.
  2. Joshua D. Angrist & Guido W. Imbens, 1995. "Identification and Estimation of Local Average Treatment Effects," NBER Technical Working Papers 0118, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Flores-Lagunes, Alfonso & Gonzalez, Arturo & Neumann, Todd C., 2005. "Learning but Not Earning? The Value of Job Corps Training for Hispanic Youths," IZA Discussion Papers 1638, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Gertler, Paul & Martinez, Sebastian & Rubio-Codina, Marta, 2006. "Investing cash transfers to raise long term living standards," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3994, The World Bank.
  5. Dean Karlan & John A. List, 2006. "Does Price Matter in Charitable Giving? Evidence From a Large-Scale Natural Field Experiment," NBER Working Papers 12338, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. 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.
  7. Karlan, Dean S. & Zinman, Jonathan, 2007. "Credit Elasticities in Less-Developed Economies: Implications for Microfinance," CEPR Discussion Papers 6071, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  8. Chamberlain, Gary, 1986. "Asymptotic efficiency in semi-parametric models with censoring," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 32(2), pages 189-218, July.
  9. Alfonso Flores-Lagunes & Arturo Gonzalez & Todd Neumann, 2010. "Learning But Not Earning? The Impact Of Job Corps Training On Hispanic Youth," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 48(3), pages 651-667, 07.
  10. Duncan I. Simester & Peng Sun & John N. Tsitsiklis, 2006. "Dynamic Catalog Mailing Policies," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 52(5), pages 683-696, May.
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