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ERIC Number: EJ1139157
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016-Feb
Pages: 38
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 60
ISBN: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0049-1241
Propensity Score-Based Methods versus MTE-Based Methods in Causal Inference: Identification, Estimation, and Application
Zhou, Xiang; Xie, Yu
Sociological Methods & Research, v45 n1 p3-40 Feb 2016
Since the seminal introduction of the propensity score (PS) by Rosenbaum and Rubin, PS-based methods have been widely used for drawing causal inferences in the behavioral and social sciences. However, the PS approach depends on the ignorability assumption: there are no unobserved confounders once observed covariates are taken into account. For situations where this assumption may be violated, Heckman and his associates have recently developed a novel approach based on marginal treatment effects (MTEs). In this article, we (1) explicate the consequences for PS-based methods when aspects of the ignorability assumption are violated, (2) compare PS-based methods and MTE-based methods by making a close examination of their identification assumptions and estimation performances, (3) apply these two approaches in estimating the economic return to college using data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY) of 1979 and discuss their discrepancies in results. When there is a sorting gain but no systematic baseline difference between treated and untreated units given observed covariates, PS-based methods can identify the treatment effect of the treated (TT). The MTE approach performs best when there is a valid and strong instrumental variable (IV). In addition, this article introduces the "smoothing-difference PS-based method," which enables us to uncover heterogeneity across people of different PSs in both counterfactual outcomes and treatment effects.
SAGE Publications. 2455 Teller Road, Thousand Oaks, CA 91320. Tel: 800-818-7243; Tel: 805-499-9774; Fax: 800-583-2665; e-mail: journals@sagepub.com; Web site: http://sagepub.com
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: National Institutes of Health (DHHS); Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) (NIH)
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: National Longitudinal Survey of Youth
Grant or Contract Numbers: 1R21NR01085601|R24HD041028