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Non-parametric adjustment for covariates when estimating a treatment effect

  • Cantoni, Eva


    (Department of of Econometrics, University of Geneva)

  • de Luna, Xavier

    (Department of Statistics, Umeå University)

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    We consider a non-parametric model for estimating the effect of a binary treatment on an outcome variable while adjusting for an observed covariate. A naive procedure consists in performing two separate non-parametric regression of the response on the covariate: one with the treated individuals and the other with the untreated. The treatment effect is then obtained by taking the difference between the two fitted regression functions. This paper proposes a backfitting algorithm which uses all the data for the two above-mentioned non-parametric regression. We give theoretical results showing that the resulting estimator of the treatment effect can have lower finite sample variance. This improvement may be achieved at the cost of a larger bias. However, in a simulation study we observe that mean squared error is lowest for the proposed backfitting estimator. When more than one covariate is observed our backfitting estimator can still be applied by using the propensity score (probability of being treated for a given setup of the covariates). We illustrate the use of the backfitting estimator in a several covariate situation with data on a training program for individuals having faced social and economic problems.

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    Paper provided by IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy in its series Working Paper Series with number 2004:9.

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    Length: 20 pages
    Date of creation: 16 Jun 2004
    Date of revision:
    Publication status: Published in Journal of Nonparametric Statistics, 2006, pages 227-244.
    Handle: RePEc:hhs:ifauwp:2004_009
    Contact details of provider: Postal: IFAU, P O Box 513, SE-751 20 Uppsala, Sweden
    Phone: (+46) 18 - 471 70 70
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    1. Schröder, Lena, 2004. "The role of youth programmes in the transition from school to work," Working Paper Series 2004:5, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
    2. Nilsson, Anna, 2004. "Income inequality and crime: The case of Sweden," Working Paper Series 2004:6, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
    3. Larsson, Laura, 2004. "Harmonizing unemployment and sickness insurance: Why (not)?," Working Paper Series 2004:8, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
    4. Nilsson, Anna, 2004. "Income Inequality and Crime: The Case of Sweden," Research Papers in Economics 2004:3, Stockholm University, Department of Economics.
    5. Anders Forslund & Daniela Froberg & Linus Lindqvist, 2004. "The Swedish Activity Guarantee," OECD Social, Employment and Migration Working Papers 16, OECD Publishing.
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