.ISSN (e) 1759-7331
(print) 1759-7323
Quantitative Economics
An open-access journal in quantitative economics
Journal of the
Econometric Society
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Quantitative Economics, Volume 12, Issue 3 (July 2021)

A unified framework for efficient estimation of general treatment models

Chunrong Ai, Oliver Linton, Kaiji Motegi, Zheng Zhang


This paper presents a weighted optimization framework that unifies the binary, multivalued, and continuous treatment—as well as mixture of discrete and continuous treatment—under a unconfounded treatment assignment. With a general loss function, the framework includes the average, quantile, and asymmetric least squares causal effect of treatment as special cases. For this general framework, we first derive the semiparametric efficiency bound for the causal effect of treatment, extending the existing bound results to a wider class of models. We then propose a generalized optimization estimator for the causal effect with weights estimated by solving an expanding set of equations. Under some sufficient conditions, we establish the consistency and asymptotic normality of the proposed estimator of the causal effect and show that the estimator attains the semiparametric efficiency bound, thereby extending the existing literature on efficient estimation of causal effect to a wider class of applications. Finally, we discuss estimation of some causal effect functionals such as the treatment effect curve and the average outcome. To evaluate the finite sample performance of the proposed procedure, we conduct a small‐scale simulation study and find that the proposed estimation has practical value. In an empirical application, we detect a significant causal effect of political advertisements on campaign contributions in the binary treatment model, but not in the continuous treatment model.

Causal effect entropy maximization treatment effect semiparametric efficiency sieve method stabilized weights C14 C21

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