Optimal Design of Experiments in the Presence of Interference

42 Pages Posted: 18 Jan 2017 Last revised: 16 Dec 2017

See all articles by Sarah Baird

Sarah Baird

George Washington University - School of Public Health and Health Services (SPHHS)

J. Aislinn Bohren

University of Pennsylvania; Centre for Economic Policy Research

Craig McIntosh

University of California, San Diego (UCSD) - Graduate School of International Relations and Pacific Studies (IRPS)

Berk Ozler

World Bank - Development Economics Research Group (DECRG)

Date Written: November 30, 2017

Abstract

We formalize the optimal design of experiments when there is interference between units, i.e. an individual's outcome depends on the outcomes of others in her group. We focus on randomized saturation designs, two-stage experiments that first randomize treatment saturation of a group, then individual treatment assignment. We map the potential outcomes framework with partial interference to a regression model with clustered errors, calculate standard errors of randomized saturation designs, and derive analytical insights about the optimal design. We show that the power to detect average treatment effects declines precisely with the ability to identify novel treatment and spillover effects.

Keywords: Experimental Design, Causal Inference

JEL Classification: C93, O22, I25

Suggested Citation

Baird, Sarah and Bohren, J. Aislinn and McIntosh, Craig and Ozler, Berk, Optimal Design of Experiments in the Presence of Interference (November 30, 2017). PIER Working Paper No. 16-025. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2900967 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2900967

Sarah Baird

George Washington University - School of Public Health and Health Services (SPHHS) ( email )

2300 I Street, NW
Ross Hall 106
Washington, DC 20037
United States

J. Aislinn Bohren (Contact Author)

University of Pennsylvania ( email )

133 South 36th Street
The Ronald O. Perelman Center
Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States

Centre for Economic Policy Research ( email )

London
United Kingdom

Craig McIntosh

University of California, San Diego (UCSD) - Graduate School of International Relations and Pacific Studies (IRPS) ( email )

9500 Gilman Drive
La Jolla, CA 92093-0519
United States

Berk Ozler

World Bank - Development Economics Research Group (DECRG) ( email )

1818 H Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20433
United States

HOME PAGE: http://econ.worldbank.org/staff/bozler

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