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Equality-Minded Treatment Choice

Kitagawa, T; Tetenov, A; (2019) Equality-Minded Treatment Choice. Journal of Business and Economic Statistics 10.1080/07350015.2019.1688664. (In press). Green open access

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The goal of many randomized experiments and quasi-experimental studies in economics is to inform policies that aim to raise incomes and reduce economic inequality. A policy maximizing the sum of individual incomes may not be desirable if it magnifies economic inequality and post-treatment redistribution of income is infeasible. This article develops a method to estimate the optimal treatment assignment policy based on observable individual covariates when the policy objective is to maximize an equality-minded rank-dependent social welfare function, which puts higher weight on individuals with lower-ranked outcomes. We estimate the optimal policy by maximizing a sample analog of the rank-dependent welfare over a properly constrained set of policies. We show that the average social welfare attained by our estimated policy converges to the maximal attainable welfare at n−1/2 rate uniformly over a large class of data distributions when the propensity score is known. We also show that this rate is minimax optimal. We provide an application of our method using the data from the National JTPA Study. Supplementary materials for this article are available online.

Type: Article
Title: Equality-Minded Treatment Choice
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1080/07350015.2019.1688664
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1080/07350015.2019.1688664
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © 2019 The Authors. Published with license by Taylor & Francis Group, LLC. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Keywords: Program evaluation, Treatment choice, Social welfare, Inequality index, Gini coefficient
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of Economics
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10082640
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