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Generalized Random Forests

Susan Athey, Julie Tibshirani and Stefan Wager
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Julie Tibshirani: Stanford University
Stefan Wager: Stanford University

Research Papers from Stanford University, Graduate School of Business

Abstract: We propose generalized random forests, a method for non-parametric statistical estimation based on random forests (Breiman, 2001) that can be used to fit any quantity of interest identified as the solution to a set of local moment equations. Following the literature on local maximum likelihood estimation, our method operates at a particular point in covariate space by considering a weighted set of nearby training examples; however, instead of using classical kernel weighting functions that are prone to a strong curse of dimensionality, we use an adaptive weighting function derived from a forest designed to express heterogeneity in the specified quantity of interest. We propose a flexible, computationally efficient algorithm for growing generalized random forests, develop a large sample theory for our method showing that our estimates are consistent and asymptotically Gaussian, and provide an estimator for their asymptotic variance that enables valid confidence intervals. We use our approach to develop new methods for three statistical tasks: non-parametric quantile regression, conditional average partial effect estimation, and heterogeneous treatment effect estimation via instrumental variables. A software implementation, grf for R and C++, is available from CRAN.

Date: 2017-07
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-big and nep-cmp
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Citations: View citations in EconPapers (11)

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Working Paper: Generalized Random Forests (2018) Downloads
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