, Volume 12, Issue 1, pp 7-18
Date: 08 Jan 2014

Propensity-Score Matching in Economic Analyses: Comparison with Regression Models, Instrumental Variables, Residual Inclusion, Differences-in-Differences, and Decomposition Methods

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This paper examines the use of propensity score matching in economic analyses of observational data. Several excellent papers have previously reviewed practical aspects of propensity score estimation and other aspects of the propensity score literature. The purpose of this paper is to compare the conceptual foundation of propensity score models with alternative estimators of treatment effects. References are provided to empirical comparisons among methods that have appeared in the literature. These comparisons are available for a subset of the methods considered in this paper. However, in some cases, no pairwise comparisons of particular methods are yet available, and there are no examples of comparisons across all of the methods surveyed here. Irrespective of the availability of empirical comparisons, the goal of this paper is to provide some intuition about the relative merits of alternative estimators in health economic evaluations where nonlinearity, sample size, availability of pre/post data, heterogeneity, and missing variables can have important implications for choice of methodology. Also considered is the potential combination of propensity score matching with alternative methods such as differences-in-differences and decomposition methods that have not yet appeared in the empirical literature.