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Can Propensity Score Analysis Replicate Estimates Based on Random Assignment in Evaluations of School Choice? A Within-Study Comparison

The ability of propensity score analysis (PSA) to match impact estimates derived from random assignment (RA) is examined using data from the evaluation of two interdistrict magnet schools. As in previous within study comparisons, the estimates provided by PSA and RA differ substantially when PSA is implemented using comparison groups that are not similar to the treatment group and without pretreatment measures of academic performance. Adding pretreatment measures of the performance to the PSA, however, substantially improves the match between PSA and RA estimates. Although the results should not be generalized too readily, they suggest that nonexperimental estimators can, in some circumstances, provide valid estimates of the causal impact of school choice programs.

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Paper provided by Center for Policy Research, Maxwell School, Syracuse University in its series Center for Policy Research Working Papers with number 124.

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Length: 37 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:max:cprwps:124
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  1. Elizabeth Ty Wilde & Robinson Hollister, 2007. "How close is close enough? Evaluating propensity score matching using data from a class size reduction experiment," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 26(3), pages 455-477.
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