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Junior Recruitment Workshop: Max Tabord-Meehan

Monday, February 4, 2019 at 11:40am to 1:10pm

Ives Hall, 115
B07 Tower Rd, Ithaca, NY 14853, USA

Max Tabord-Meehan, Northwestern University

Stratification Trees for Adaptive Randomization in Randomized Controlled Trials

Abstract:  This paper proposes an adaptive randomization procedure for two-stage randomized controlled trials. The method uses data from a first-wave experiment in order to determine how to stratify in a second wave of the experiment, where the objective is to minimize the variance of an estimator for the average treatment effect (ATE). We consider selection from a class of stratified randomization procedures which we call stratification trees: these are procedures whose strata can be represented as decision trees, with differing treatment assignment probabilities across strata. By using the first wave to estimate a stratification tree, we simultaneously select which covariates to use for stratification, how to stratify over these covariates, as well as the assignment probabilities within these strata. Our main result shows that using this randomization procedure with an appropriate estimator results in an asymptotic variance which minimizes the variance bound for estimating the ATE, over an optimal stratification of the covariate space. Moreover, by extending techniques developed in Bugni et al. (2018), the results we present are able to accommodate a large class of assignment mechanisms within strata, including stratified block randomization. In a simulation study, we find that our method is most effective when the response model exhibits some amount of “sparsity” with respect to the covariates, but can be effective in other contexts as well, as long as the first-wave sample size used to estimate the stratification tree is not prohibitively small. We conclude by applying our method to the study in Karlan and Wood (2017), where we estimate stratification trees using the first wave of their experiment.

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Event Type

Seminar, Class/ Workshop




economics, EconSeminar, EconMetrics, EconMacro, EconPublic, EconIO, EconRecruit, EconBehave, EconMicro, EconLabor, EconAppliedMicro



Contact E-Mail

Contact Name

Amy Moesch

Contact Phone



Max Tabord-Meehan

Speaker Affiliation

Northwestern University

Open To

Cornell Economics Community (List Serve Members)