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Estimating Dynamic Treatment Effects from Project STAR

Steven Lehrer () and Weili Ding ()

No 252, Econometric Society 2004 North American Summer Meetings from Econometric Society

Abstract: This paper considers the analysis of data from randomized trials which offer a sequence of interventions and suffer from a variety of problems in implementation. In experiments that provide treatment in multiple periods (T>1), subjects have up to 2^{T}-1 counterfactual outcomes to be estimated to determine the full sequence of causal effects from the study. Traditional program evaluation and non-experimental estimators are unable to recover parameters of interest to policy makers in this setting, particularly if there is non-ignorable attrition. We examine these issues in the context of Tennessee's highly influential randomized class size study, Project STAR. We demonstrate how a researcher can estimate the full sequence of dynamic treatment effects using a sequential difference in difference strategy that accounts for attrition due to observables using inverse probability weighting M-estimators. These estimates allow us to recover the structural parameters of the small class effects in the underlying education production function and construct dynamic average treatment effects. We present a complete and different picture of the effectiveness of reduced class size and find that accounting for both attrition due to observables and selection due to unobservables is crucial and necessary with data from Project STAR

Keywords: Education; Attrition; Non-Compliance; Sequential Difference in Difference; Class Size reduction (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C13 I21 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2004-08-11
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