Revisiting the Analysis of Matched-Pair and Stratified Experiments in the Presence of Attrition

by   Yuehao Bai, et al.

In this paper we revisit some common recommendations regarding the analysis of matched-pair and stratified experimental designs in the presence of attrition. Our main objective is to clarify a number of well-known claims about the practice of dropping pairs with an attrited unit when analyzing matched-pair designs. Contradictory advice appears in the literature about whether or not dropping pairs is beneficial or harmful, and stratifying into larger groups has been recommended as a resolution to the issue. To address these claims, we derive the estimands obtained from the difference-in-means estimator in a matched-pair design both when the observations from pairs with an attrited unit are retained and when they are dropped. We find limited evidence to support the claims that dropping pairs is beneficial, other than in potentially helping recover a convex weighted average of conditional average treatment effects. We then repeat the same exercise for stratified designs by studying the estimands obtained from a regression of outcomes on treatment with and without strata fixed effects. We do not find compelling evidence to support the claims that stratified designs should be preferred to matched-pair designs in the presence of attrition.


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