Outliers in Semi-Parametric Estimation of Treatment Effects

Luis Fernando Castro Peñarrieta, Profesor Investigador Titular de la División de Economía del CIDE, junto con Gustavo Canavire-Bacarreza y Darwin Ugarte Ontiveros escribieron el artículo Outliers in Semi-Parametric Estimation of Treatment Effects en la revista Econometrics.



Outliers can be particularly hard to detect, creating bias and inconsistency in the semi-parametric estimates. In this paper, we use Monte Carlo simulations to demonstrate that semi-parametric methods, such as matching, are biased in the presence of outliers. Bad and good leverage point outliers are considered. Bias arises in the case of bad leverage points because they completely change the distribution of the metrics used to define counterfactuals; good leverage points, on the other hand, increase the chance of breaking the common support condition and distort the balance of the covariates, which may push practitioners to misspecify the propensity score or the distance measures. We provide some clues to identify and correct for the effects of outliers following a reweighting strategy in the spirit of the Stahel-Donoho (SD) multivariate estimator of scale and location, and the S-estimator of multivariate location (Smultiv). An application of this strategy to experimental data is also implemented.

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