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Endogenous Stratification in Randomized Experiments

Author

Listed:
  • Alberto Abadie
  • Matthew M. Chingos
  • Martin R. West

Abstract

Researchers and policy makers are often interested in estimating how treatments or policy interventions affect the outcomes of those most in need of help. This concern has motivated the increasingly common practice of disaggregating experimental data by groups constructed on the basis of an index of baseline characteristics that predicts the values that individual outcomes would take on in the absence of the treatment. This article shows that substantial biases may arise in practice if the index is estimated, as is often the case, by regressing the outcome variable on baseline characteristics for the full sample of experimental controls. We analyze the behavior of leave-one-out and repeated split sample estimators and show they behave well in realistic scenarios, correcting the large bias problem of the full sample estimator. We use data from the National JTPA Study and the Tennessee STAR experiment to demonstrate the performance of alternative estimators and the magnitude of their biases.

Suggested Citation

  • Alberto Abadie & Matthew M. Chingos & Martin R. West, 2013. "Endogenous Stratification in Randomized Experiments," NBER Working Papers 19742, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:19742
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    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w19742.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Joshua D. Angrist & Jörn-Steffen Pischke, 2010. "The Credibility Revolution in Empirical Economics: How Better Research Design Is Taking the Con out of Econometrics," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 24(2), pages 3-30, Spring.
    2. James J. Heckman & Jeffrey Smith & Nancy Clements, 1997. "Making The Most Out Of Programme Evaluations and Social Experiments: Accounting For Heterogeneity in Programme Impacts," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 64(4), pages 487-535.
    3. Lisa Sanbonmatsu & Jeffrey R. Kling & Greg J. Duncan & Jeanne Brooks-Gunn, 2006. "Neighborhoods and Academic Achievement: Results from the Moving to Opportunity Experiment," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 41(4).
    4. Rodríguez-Planas, Núria, 2012. "School and Drugs: Closing the Gap – Evidence from a Randomized Trial in the US," IZA Discussion Papers 6770, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    5. Joshua Angrist & Victor Lavy, 2009. "The Effects of High Stakes High School Achievement Awards: Evidence from a Randomized Trial," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(4), pages 1384-1414, September.
    6. Douglas N. Harris & Sara Goldrick-Rab, 2012. "Improving the Productivity of Education Experiments: Lessons from a Randomized Study of Need-Based Financial Aid," Education Finance and Policy, MIT Press, vol. 7(2), pages 143-169, March.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Steffen Altmann & Armin Falk & Simon Jäger & Florian Zimmermann, 2015. "Learning about Job Search: A Field Experiment with Job Seekers in Germany," Working Paper 254671, Harvard University OpenScholar.
    2. Arash Nekoei & Andrea Weber, 2017. "Does Extending Unemployment Benefits Improve Job Quality?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 107(2), pages 527-561, February.
    3. Onur Altindag, 2016. "Son Preference, Fertility Decline, and the Nonmissing Girls of Turkey," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 53(2), pages 541-566, April.
    4. Abebe, Girum & Caria, Stefano & Fafchamps, Marcel & Falco, Paolo & Franklin, Simon & Quinn, Simon & Shilpi, Forhad, 2017. "Matching firms and workers in a field experiment in Ethiopia," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 86572, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    5. repec:oup:restud:v:85:y:2018:i:2:p:999-1028. is not listed on IDEAS
    6. C de Chaisemartin & X D’HaultfŒuille, 2018. "Fuzzy Differences-in-Differences," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 85(2), pages 999-1028.
    7. de Chaisemartin, Clement & D'Haultfoeuille, Xavier, "undated". "Fuzzy Differences-in-Differences," Economic Research Papers 270218, University of Warwick - Department of Economics.
    8. Onur Altindag & Theodore J. Joyce & Julie A. Reeder, 2015. "Effects of Peer Counseling to Support Breastfeeding: Assessing the External Validity of a Randomized Field Experiment," NBER Working Papers 21013, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C01 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - General - - - Econometrics
    • C21 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Cross-Sectional Models; Spatial Models; Treatment Effect Models
    • C9 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments

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