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Activity Number: 65 - New Methods for Identifying and Testing Heterogeneous Treatment Effects in One or a Pair of Studies
Type: Topic Contributed
Date/Time: Sunday, July 28, 2019 : 4:00 PM to 5:50 PM
Sponsor: Health Policy Statistics Section
Abstract #304188 Presentation
Title: Proposing and Testing Sub-Groups with Heterogeneous Treatment Effects: a Sequence of Two Studies
Author(s): Rahul Ladhania* and Amelia M Haviland and Neeraj Sood and Ateev Mehrotra
Companies: Carnegie Mellon University and Carnegie Mellon University - Heinz College and University of Southern California and Harvard Medical School
Keywords: causal inference; heterogeneous effects; observational data; model-based recursive partitioning; sub-groups

Learning heterogeneous treatment groups is often done in experimental settings. Drawing noise-free inference about heterogeneous treatment effects using experimental data, however, is problematic when the sample size is not large enough to rule out noise. In our study, we adopt a two-stage approach to propose and test heterogeneous treatment effects. In Stage 1, we use a large observational dataset to learn sub-groups with the most distinctive treatment-outcome relationships ('high/low-impact subgroups'). We adopt a model-based recursive partitioning approach to propose the high/low impact subgroups, and validate them by using a sample-splitting approach to propose "noise-free" sub-groups. While the first stage rules out noise, we still have to deal with the potential bias in our sub-groups. Stage 2 uses an experimental design, and here we classify our sample units based on the sub-groups learned in Stage 1. We then estimate the unbiased treatment effects within each of the groups using a difference-in-differences approach, thereby testing the causal hypotheses proposed in Stage 1. We also extend our approach to non-parametric estimation of the sub-groups.

Authors who are presenting talks have a * after their name.

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