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Treatment Effects Estimation By Uniform Transformer

Ruoqi Yu · Shulei Wang

Halle B #193
[ ]
Wed 8 May 7:30 a.m. PDT — 9:30 a.m. PDT

Abstract: In observational studies, balancing covariates in different treatment groups is essential to estimate treatment effects. One of the most commonly used methods for such purposes is weighting. The performance of this class of methods usually depends on strong regularity conditions for the underlying model, which might not hold in practice. In this paper, we investigate weighting methods from a functional estimation perspective and argue that the weights needed for covariate balancing could differ from those needed for treatment effects estimation under low regularity conditions. Motivated by this observation, we introduce a new framework of weighting that directly targets the treatment effects estimation. Unlike existing methods, the resulting estimator for a treatment effect under this new framework is a simple kernel-based $U$-statistic after applying a data-driven transformation to the observed covariates. We characterize the theoretical properties of the new estimators of treatment effects under a nonparametric setting and show that they are able to work robustly under low regularity conditions. The new framework is also applied to several numerical examples to demonstrate its practical merits.

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