Heterogeneous Impacts in PROGRESA

63 Pages Posted: 3 Nov 2008

See all articles by Habiba Djebbari

Habiba Djebbari

Université Laval - Département d'Économique; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Jeffrey A. Smith

University of Wisconsin - Madison; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)


The "common effect" model in program evaluation assumes that all treated individuals have the same impact from a program. Our paper contributes to the recent literature that tests and goes beyond the common effect model by investigating impact heterogeneity using data from the experimental evaluation of the Mexican conditional cash transfer program PROGRESA. Our analysis builds upon and extends that in Heckman, Smith and Clements (1997) and more recent studies of quantile treatment effects and random coefficient models. We find strong evidence of systematic (i.e. subgroup) variation in impacts in PROGRESA and modest evidence of heterogeneous impacts conditional on the systematic impacts. We find evidence against the perfect positive dependence assumption that underlies the interpretation of quantile treatment effects as impacts at quantiles of the untreated outcome distribution. Our paper concludes with a discussion of the policy relevance of our findings and of heterogeneous impacts more generally.

Keywords: heterogeneous impacts, randomized experiment, quantile treatment effects

JEL Classification: C21, C14, I38

Suggested Citation

Djebbari, Habiba and Smith, Jeffrey Andrew, Heterogeneous Impacts in PROGRESA. IZA Discussion Paper No. 3362, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1294529 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1294529

Habiba Djebbari (Contact Author)

Université Laval - Département d'Économique ( email )

2325 Rue de l'Université
Ste-Foy, Quebec G1K 7P4 G1K 7P4

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072

Jeffrey Andrew Smith

University of Wisconsin - Madison

716 Langdon Street
Madison, WI 53706-1481
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072

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