Distributional Impact Analysis: Toolkit and Illustrations of Impacts Beyond the Average Treatment Effect

70 Pages Posted: 24 Jul 2017 Last revised: 1 Aug 2019

See all articles by Guadalupe Bedoya Arguelles

Guadalupe Bedoya Arguelles

World Bank

Luca Bittarello

Northwestern University

Jon Davis

University of Chicago

Nikolas Mittag

University of Chicago - Harris School of Public Policy

Jonathan Martin Villars Davis

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Nikolas Karl Mittag

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: July 6, 2017

Abstract

Program evaluations often focus on average treatment effects. However, average treatment effects miss important aspects of policy evaluation, such as the impact on inequality and whether treatment harms some individuals. A growing literature develops methods to evaluate such issues by examining the distributional impacts of programs and policies. This toolkit reviews methods to do so, focusing on their application to randomized control trials. The paper emphasizes two strands of the literature: estimation of impacts on outcome distributions and estimation of the distribution of treatment impacts. The article then discusses extensions to conditional treatment effect heterogeneity, that is, to analyses of how treatment impacts vary with observed characteristics. The paper offers advice on inference, testing, and power calculations, which are important when implementing distributional analyses in practice. Finally, the paper illustrates select methods using data from two randomized evaluations.

Keywords: Health Care Services Industry, Inequality, Gender and Development, Social Impacts and Poverty Mitigation, Poverty and Social Impact Analysis, Social Analysis, Quality of Life & Leisure

Suggested Citation

Bedoya Arguelles, Guadalupe and Bittarello, Luca and Davis, Jon and Mittag, Nikolas and Davis, Jonathan Martin Villars and Mittag, Nikolas Karl, Distributional Impact Analysis: Toolkit and Illustrations of Impacts Beyond the Average Treatment Effect (July 6, 2017). World Bank Policy Research Working Paper No. 8139, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3006213

Guadalupe Bedoya Arguelles (Contact Author)

World Bank ( email )

1818 H Street, NW
Washington, DC 20433
United States

Luca Bittarello

Northwestern University ( email )

2001 Sheridan Road
Evanston, IL 60208
United States

Jon Davis

University of Chicago ( email )

1101 East 58th Street
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

Nikolas Mittag

University of Chicago - Harris School of Public Policy ( email )

1155 East 60th Street
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

Jonathan Martin Villars Davis

affiliation not provided to SSRN

No Address Available

Nikolas Karl Mittag

affiliation not provided to SSRN

No Address Available

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