Econometrica: Sep, 1998, Volume 66, Issue 5
Characterizing Selection Bias Using Experimental Data
Hidehiko Ichimura, James Heckman, Jeffrey Smith, Petra Todd
Semiparametric methods are developed to estimate the bias that arises from using nonexperimental comparison groups to evaluate social programs and to test the identifying assumptions that justify matching, selection models, and the method of difference-in-differences. Using data from an experiment on a prototypical social program and data from nonexperimental comparison groups, we reject the assumptions justifying matching and our extensions of it. The evidence supports the selection bias model and the assumptions that justify a semiparametric version of the method of difference-in-differences. We extend our analysis to consider applications of the methods to ordinary observational data.