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Bandwidth Selection and the Estimation of Treatment Effects with Unbalanced Data

  • Galdo, Jose C.

    ()

    (Carleton University)

  • Smith, Jeffrey A.

    ()

    (University of Michigan)

  • Black, Dan A.

    ()

    (University of Chicago)

This paper addresses the selection of smoothing parameters for estimating the average treatment effect on the treated using matching methods. Because precise estimation of the expected counterfactual is particularly important in regions containing the mass of the treated units, we define and implement weighted cross-validation approaches that improve over conventional methods by considering the location of the treated units in the selection of the smoothing parameters. We also implement a locally varying bandwidth method that uses larger bandwidths in areas where the mass of the treated units is located. A Monte Carlo study compares our proposed methods to the conventional unweighted method and to a related method inspired by Bergemann et al. (2005). The Monte Carlo analysis indicates efficiency gains from all methods that take account of the location of the treated units. We also apply all five methods to bandwidth selection in the context of the data from LaLonde’s (1986) study of the performance of non-experimental estimators using the experimental data from the National Supported Work (NSW) Demonstration program as a benchmark. Overall, both the Monte Carlo analysis and the empirical application show feasible precision gains for the weighted cross-validation and the locally varying bandwidth approaches.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 3095.

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Length: 46 pages
Date of creation: Oct 2007
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Annales d'Economie et Statistique, 2008, 91-92, 189-216
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp3095
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  1. A. Smith, Jeffrey & E. Todd, Petra, 2005. "Does matching overcome LaLonde's critique of nonexperimental estimators?," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 125(1-2), pages 305-353.
  2. Black, Dan A. & Smith, J.A.Jeffrey A., 2004. "How robust is the evidence on the effects of college quality? Evidence from matching," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 121(1-2), pages 99-124.
  3. Heckman, James J, 1979. "Sample Selection Bias as a Specification Error," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(1), pages 153-61, January.
  4. Guido W. Imbens, 2003. "Nonparametric Estimation of Average Treatment Effects under Exogeneity: A Review," NBER Technical Working Papers 0294, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Bergemann, Annette & Fitzenberger, Bernd & Speckesser, Stefan, 2005. "Evaluating the Dynamic Employment Effects of Training Programs in East Germany Using Conditional Difference-in-Differences," IZA Discussion Papers 1848, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  6. Rajeev H. Dehejia & Sadek Wahba, 1998. "Propensity Score Matching Methods for Non-experimental Causal Studies," NBER Working Papers 6829, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. James J. Heckman, 1989. "Choosing Among Alternative Nonexperimental Methods for Estimating the Impact of Social Programs: The Case of Manpower Training," NBER Working Papers 2861, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Wang-Sheng Lee, 2013. "Propensity score matching and variations on the balancing test," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 44(1), pages 47-80, February.
  9. James Heckman & Hidehiko Ichimura & Jeffrey Smith & Petra Todd, 1998. "Characterizing Selection Bias Using Experimental Data," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 66(5), pages 1017-1098, September.
  10. Peter Hall & Jeff Racine & Qi Li, 2004. "Cross-Validation and the Estimation of Conditional Probability Densities," Journal of the American Statistical Association, American Statistical Association, vol. 99, pages 1015-1026, December.
  11. Markus Frölich, 2004. "Finite-Sample Properties of Propensity-Score Matching and Weighting Estimators," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 86(1), pages 77-90, February.
  12. Hidehiko Ichimura & Oliver Linton, 2001. "Asymptotic expansions for some semiparametric program evaluation estimators," CeMMAP working papers CWP04/01, Centre for Microdata Methods and Practice, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  13. Heckman, James J & Ichimura, Hidehiko & Todd, Petra, 1998. "Matching as an Econometric Evaluation Estimator," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 65(2), pages 261-94, April.
  14. 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.
  15. Heckman, James J & Ichimura, Hidehiko & Todd, Petra E, 1997. "Matching as an Econometric Evaluation Estimator: Evidence from Evaluating a Job Training Programme," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 64(4), pages 605-54, October.
  16. Qi Li & Jeffrey Scott Racine, 2006. "Nonparametric Econometrics: Theory and Practice," Economics Books, Princeton University Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 8355.
  17. Steven Lehrer & Gregory Kordas, 2004. "Matching using Semiparametric Propensity Scores," Econometric Society 2004 North American Summer Meetings 441, Econometric Society.
  18. Dehejia, Rajeev, 2005. "Practical propensity score matching: a reply to Smith and Todd," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 125(1-2), pages 355-364.
  19. Jianqing Fan & Theo Gasser & Irène Gijbels & Michael Brockmann & Joachim Engel, 1997. "Local Polynomial Regression: Optimal Kernels and Asymptotic Minimax Efficiency," Annals of the Institute of Statistical Mathematics, Springer, vol. 49(1), pages 79-99, March.
  20. LaLonde, Robert J, 1986. "Evaluating the Econometric Evaluations of Training Programs with Experimental Data," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(4), pages 604-20, September.
  21. Smith, Jeffrey & Todd, Petra, 2005. "Rejoinder," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 125(1-2), pages 365-375.
  22. Rajeev H. Dehejia & Sadek Wahba, 1998. "Causal Effects in Non-Experimental Studies: Re-Evaluating the Evaluation of Training Programs," NBER Working Papers 6586, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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