Harvard University - Department of Goverment
In this talk, we develop the theoretical properties of the propensity function which is a generalization of the propensity score of Rosenbaum and Rubin (1983). Methods based on the propensity score have long been used for causal inference in observational studies; they are easy to use and can effectively reduce the bias caused by non-random treatment assignment. Although treatment regimes are often not binary in practice, the propensity score methods are generally confined to binary treatment scenarios. Two possible exceptions were suggested by Joffe and Rosenbaum (1999) and Imbens (2000) for ordinal and categorical treatments, respectively. In this talk, we develop theory and methods which encompass all of these techniques and widen their applicability by allowing for arbitrary treatment regimes. We illustrate our propensity function methods by applying them to two data sets; we estimate the effect of smoking on medical expenditure and the effect of schooling on wages. We also conduct Monte Carlo experiments to investigate the performance of our methods.
Joint work with David A. van Dyk, Department of Statistics, Harvard University.