Does the estimation of the propensity score by machine learning improve matching estimation? The case of Germany's programmes for long term unemployed

Goller, Daniel; Lechner, Michael; Moczall, Andreas; Wolff, Joachim (2020). Does the estimation of the propensity score by machine learning improve matching estimation? The case of Germany's programmes for long term unemployed. Labour economics, 65, p. 101855. Elsevier 10.1016/j.labeco.2020.101855

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Matching-type estimators using the propensity score are the major workhorse in active labour market policy evaluation. This work investigates if machine learning algorithms for estimating the propensity score lead to more credible estimation of average treatment effects on the treated using a radius matching framework. Considering two popular methods, the results are ambiguous: We find that using LASSO based logit models to estimate the propensity score delivers more credible results than conventional methods in small and medium sized high dimensional datasets. However, the usage of Random Forests to estimate the propensity score may lead to a deterioration of the performance in situations with a low treatment share. The application reveals a positive effect of the training programme on days in employment for long-term unemployed. While the choice of the “first stage” is highly relevant for settings with low number of observations and few treated, machine learning and conventional estimation becomes more similar in larger samples and higher treatment shares.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

03 Faculty of Business, Economics and Social Sciences > Department of Economics

UniBE Contributor:

Goller, Daniel

Subjects:

300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology > 330 Economics

ISSN:

0927-5371

Publisher:

Elsevier

Language:

English

Submitter:

Dino Collalti

Date Deposited:

11 Jan 2021 14:01

Last Modified:

17 Jan 2021 02:55

Publisher DOI:

10.1016/j.labeco.2020.101855

BORIS DOI:

10.48350/150685

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/150685

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