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Inference with Imperfect Randomization: The Case of the Perry Preschool Program


  • Rodrigo Pinto

    (University of Chicago)

  • Azeem Shaikh

    (University of Chicago)

  • Adam Yavitz

    (University of Chicago)

  • James Heckman

    (University of Chicago)


This paper considers the problem of inference about the effect of a program on multiple outcomes when assignment of treatment status is imperfectly randomized. Here, by imperfect randomization we mean that treatment status may have been reassigned after the initial randomization on the basis of observed or unobserved characteristics. We develop our methodology in the context of the High/Scope Perry Preschool program. We find significant effects of the program on a number of different outcomes of interest, including outcomes related to criminal activity for males, even after accounting for the imperfectness of the randomization and the multiplicity of hypotheses. On the other hand, effects of the program on other outcomes of interest, including outcomes related to criminal behavior for females, are no longer significant after more careful scrutiny.

Suggested Citation

  • Rodrigo Pinto & Azeem Shaikh & Adam Yavitz & James Heckman, 2010. "Inference with Imperfect Randomization: The Case of the Perry Preschool Program," 2010 Meeting Papers 1336, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  • Handle: RePEc:red:sed010:1336

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Federico A. Bugni & Ivan A. Canay & Azeem M. Shaikh, 2015. "Inference under covariate-adaptive randomization," CeMMAP working papers CWP45/15, Centre for Microdata Methods and Practice, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
    2. Aviva Aron-Dine & Liran Einav & Amy Finkelstein, 2013. "The RAND Health Insurance Experiment, Three Decades Later," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 27(1), pages 197-222, Winter.
    3. Daniela Del Boca & Christopher Flinn & Matthew Wiswall, 2012. "Transfers to Households with Children and Child Development," Carlo Alberto Notebooks 273, Collegio Carlo Alberto.
    4. John List & Azeem Shaikh & Yang Xu, 2016. "Multiple Hypothesis Testing in Experimental Economics," Artefactual Field Experiments 00402, The Field Experiments Website.
    5. Asoni, Andrea, 2011. "Intelligence, Self-confidence and Entrepreneurship," Working Paper Series 887, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
    6. Filatriau, Olivier & Fougère, Denis & Tô, Maxime, 2013. "Will Sooner Be Better? The Impact of Early Preschool Enrollment on Cognitive and Noncognitive Achievement of Children," CEPR Discussion Papers 9480, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C31 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Cross-Sectional Models; Spatial Models; Treatment Effect Models; Quantile Regressions; Social Interaction Models
    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth


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