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Doing More When You're Running Late: Applying Marginal Treatment Effect Methods to Examine Treatment Effect Heterogeneity in Experiments

71 Pages Posted: 27 Jun 2016 Last revised: 7 Jul 2016

Amanda Ellen Kowalski

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Yale University

Date Written: June 2016

Abstract

I examine treatment effect heterogeneity within an experiment to inform external validity. The local average treatment effect (LATE) gives an average treatment effect for compliers. I bound and estimate average treatment effects for always takers and never takers by extending marginal treatment effect methods. I use these methods to separate selection from treatment effect heterogeneity, generalizing the comparison of OLS to LATE. Applying these methods to the Oregon Health Insurance Experiment, I find that the treatment effect of insurance on emergency room utilization decreases from always takers to compliers to never takers. Previous utilization explains a large share of the treatment effect heterogeneity. Extrapolations show that other expansions could increase or decrease utilization.

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Suggested Citation

Kowalski, Amanda Ellen, Doing More When You're Running Late: Applying Marginal Treatment Effect Methods to Examine Treatment Effect Heterogeneity in Experiments (June 2016). NBER Working Paper No. w22363. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2800873

Amanda Ellen Kowalski (Contact Author)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Yale University ( email )

28 Hillhouse Ave
New Haven, CT 06520-8268
United States

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