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Identification of average treatment effects in social experiments under different forms of attrition

  • Martin Huber

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As any empirical method used for causal analysis, social experiments are prone to attrition which may flaw the validity of the results. This paper considers the problem of partially missing outcomes in experiments. Firstly, it systematically reveals under which forms of attrition - in terms of its relation to observable and/or unobservable factors - experiments do (not) yield causal parameters. Secondly, it shows how the various forms of attrition can be controlled for by different methods of inverse probability weighting (IPW) that are tailored to the specific missing data problem at hand. In particular, it discusses IPW methods that incorporate instrumental variables when attrition is related to unobservables, which has been widely ignored in the experimental literature.

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File URL: http://www1.vwa.unisg.ch/RePEc/usg/dp2010/DP-1022-Hu.pdf
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Paper provided by Department of Economics, University of St. Gallen in its series University of St. Gallen Department of Economics working paper series 2010 with number 2010-22.

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Length: 44 pages
Date of creation: Jun 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:usg:dp2010:2010-22
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  1. Ana Llena-Nozal & Maarten Lindeboom & France Portrait, 2004. "The effect of work on mental health: does occupation matter?," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 13(10), pages 1045-1062.
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  8. Joel L. Horowitz & Charles F. Manski, 1996. "Censoring of Outcomes and Regressors Due To Survey Nonresponse: Identification and Estimation Using Weights and Imputations," Econometrics 9602007, EconWPA, revised 06 Mar 1996.
  9. Kosuke Imai, 2009. "Statistical analysis of randomized experiments with non-ignorable missing binary outcomes: an application to a voting experiment," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series C, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 58(1), pages 83-104.
  10. 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.
  11. Joshua Angrist & Eric Bettinger & Michael Kremer, 2006. "Long-Term Educational Consequences of Secondary School Vouchers: Evidence from Administrative Records in Colombia," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(3), pages 847-862, June.
  12. 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.
  13. Paul Gertler, 2004. "Do Conditional Cash Transfers Improve Child Health? Evidence from PROGRESA's Control Randomized Experiment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(2), pages 336-341, May.
  14. Hausman, Jerry A & Wise, David A, 1979. "Attrition Bias in Experimental and Panel Data: The Gary Income Maintenance Experiment," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(2), pages 455-73, March.
  15. Martin Huber, 2014. "Treatment Evaluation in the Presence of Sample Selection," Econometric Reviews, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 33(8), pages 869-905, November.
  16. David S. Lee, 2009. "Training, Wages, and Sample Selection: Estimating Sharp Bounds on Treatment Effects," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 76(3), pages 1071-1102.
  17. Guido W. Imbens, 2010. "Better LATE Than Nothing: Some Comments on Deaton (2009) and Heckman and Urzua (2009)," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 48(2), pages 399-423, June.
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