Using Target Efficiency to Select Program Participants and Risk-Factor Models: An Application to Child Mental Health Interventions for Preventing Future Crime

34 Pages Posted: 26 Jul 2006 Last revised: 4 Oct 2006

See all articles by David S. Salkever

David S. Salkever

UMBC, Department of Public Policy

Stephen Johnston

University of Maryland, Baltimore County - Department of Public Policy

Mustafa C. Karakus

WESTAT

Nicholas Ialongo

Johns Hopkins University, Bloomberg School of Public Health

Eric Phillip Slade

University of Maryland - School of Medicine - Department of Veterans Affairs

Date Written: July 2006

Abstract

Statistical risk factor models are often proposed for screening high-risk children to participate in early intervention programs. Recent contributions to the program evaluation literature demonstrate the need for incorporating judgments about relative importance of false positives versus false negatives in screening. This paper formalizes these judgments as commensurable economic costs and benefits and applies them to demonstrate an approach to participant selection motivated by the standard cost-benefit criterion of maximizing expected net benefits. Implications of this approach are explored using data from a mental health prevention trial. We illustrate the response of expected net benefits to the choice of a selection risk level, the sensitivity of the optimal selection risk level to per participant cost/benefit magnitudes, and the use of the target-efficiency approach for choosing among alternative risk-factor models. Several strategies that directly incorporate expected net benefit maximization as a criterion in the model estimation process are also examined.

Suggested Citation

Salkever, David S. and Johnston, Stephen and Karakus, Mustafa C. and Ialongo, Nicholas and Slade, Eric Phillip, Using Target Efficiency to Select Program Participants and Risk-Factor Models: An Application to Child Mental Health Interventions for Preventing Future Crime (July 2006). NBER Working Paper No. w12377. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=918975

David S. Salkever (Contact Author)

UMBC, Department of Public Policy ( email )

1000 Hilltop Circle
Baltimore, MD 21250

Stephen Johnston

University of Maryland, Baltimore County - Department of Public Policy ( email )

1000 Hilltop Circle
Baltimore, MD 21250
United States

Mustafa C. Karakus

WESTAT ( email )

1650 Research Blvd.
Rockville, MD 20850
United States

Nicholas Ialongo

Johns Hopkins University, Bloomberg School of Public Health ( email )

615 North Wolfe Street
Baltimore, MD 21205
United States

Eric Phillip Slade

University of Maryland - School of Medicine - Department of Veterans Affairs ( email )

737 West Lombard Street, Room 526
Baltimore, MD 21201
United States

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