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Mean-square-error Calculations for Average Treatment Effects


  • Guido W. Imbens
  • Whitney Newey
  • Geert Ridder


This paper develops a new efficient estimator for the average treatment effect, if selection for treatment is on observables. The new estimator is linear in the first-stage nonparametric estimator. This simplifies the derivation of the means squared error (MSE) of the estimator as a function of the number of basis functions that is used in the first stage nonparametric regression. We propose an estimator for the MSE and show that in large samples minimization of this estimator is equivalent to minimization of the population MSE.

Suggested Citation

  • Guido W. Imbens & Whitney Newey & Geert Ridder, 2005. "Mean-square-error Calculations for Average Treatment Effects," IEPR Working Papers 05.34, Institute of Economic Policy Research (IEPR).
  • Handle: RePEc:scp:wpaper:05-34

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Nerlove,Marc, 2005. "Essays in Panel Data Econometrics," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521022460, March.
    2. Lee, Myoung-jae, 2005. "Micro-Econometrics for Policy, Program and Treatment Effects," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199267699.
    3. Arellano, Manuel, 2003. "Panel Data Econometrics," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199245291.
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    Cited by:

    1. Richard K. Crump & V. Joseph Hotz & Guido W. Imbens & Oscar A. Mitnik, 2008. "Nonparametric Tests for Treatment Effect Heterogeneity," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 90(3), pages 389-405, August.
    2. de Brauw, Alan & Gilligan, Daniel O. & Hoddinott, John & Roy, Shalini, 2014. "The Impact of Bolsa Família on Women’s Decision-Making Power," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 59(C), pages 487-504.
    3. Matias Busso & Patrick Kline, 2008. "Do Local Economic Development Programs Work? Evidence from the Federal Empowerment Zone Program," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1639, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
    4. Michael Lechner & Blaise Melly, 2010. "Partial Idendification of Wage Effects of Training Programs," Working Papers 2010-8, Brown University, Department of Economics.
    5. Guido W. Imbens & Jeffrey M. Wooldridge, 2009. "Recent Developments in the Econometrics of Program Evaluation," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 47(1), pages 5-86, March.
    6. Richard K. Crump & V. Joseph Hotz & Guido W. Imbens & Oscar A. Mitnik, 2006. "Moving the Goalposts: Addressing Limited Overlap in the Estimation of Average Treatment Effects by Changing the Estimand," NBER Technical Working Papers 0330, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Yanchun Jin, 2016. "Nonparametric tests for the effect of treatment on conditional variance," KIER Working Papers 948, Kyoto University, Institute of Economic Research.
    8. Richard K. Crump & V. Joseph Hotz & Guido W. Imbens & Oscar A. Mitnik, 2006. "Moving the Goalposts: Addressing Limited Overlap in Estimation of Average Treatment Effects by Changing the Estimand," Working Papers 0608, University of Miami, Department of Economics.
    9. Kitagawa, Toru & Muris, Chris, 2016. "Model averaging in semiparametric estimation of treatment effects," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 193(1), pages 271-289.
    10. Bryan S. Graham & Cristine Campos De Xavier Pinto & Daniel Egel, 2012. "Inverse Probability Tilting for Moment Condition Models with Missing Data," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 79(3), pages 1053-1079.
    11. Daniel Millimet & Rusty Tchernis, 2006. "On the Specification of Propensity Scores: with an Application to the WTO-Environment Debate," Caepr Working Papers 2006-013, Center for Applied Economics and Policy Research, Economics Department, Indiana University Bloomington.
    12. Kwun Chuen Gary Chan & Sheung Chi Phillip Yam & Zheng Zhang, 2016. "Globally efficient non-parametric inference of average treatment effects by empirical balancing calibration weighting," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series B, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 78(3), pages 673-700, June.
    13. Chen, Xiaohong, 2007. "Large Sample Sieve Estimation of Semi-Nonparametric Models," Handbook of Econometrics,in: J.J. Heckman & E.E. Leamer (ed.), Handbook of Econometrics, edition 1, volume 6, chapter 76 Elsevier.

    More about this item


    Nonparametric Estimation; Imputation; Mean Squared Error; Order Selection;

    JEL classification:

    • C14 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Semiparametric and Nonparametric Methods: General
    • C20 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - General

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