cemmap Working Papers (CWP39/12)

A triangular treatment effect model with random coefficients in the selection equation

Date: 03 December 2012
DOI: 10.1920/wp.cem.2012.3912

In this paper we study nonparametric estimation in a binary treatment model where the outcome equation is of unrestricted form, and the selection equation contains multiple unobservables that enter through a nonparametric random coefficients specification. This specification is flexible because it allows for complex unobserved heterogeneity of economic agents and non-monotone selection into treatment. We obtain conditions under which both the conditional distributions of Y0 and Y1, the outcome for the untreated, respectively treated, given first stage unobserved random coefficients, are identified. We can thus identify an average treatment effect, conditional on first stage unobservables called UCATE, which yields most treatment effects parameters that depend on averages, like ATE and TT. We provide sharp bounds on the variance, the joint distribution of (Y0 and Y1) and the distribution of treatment effects. In the particular case where the outcomes are continuously distributed, we provide novel and weak conditions that allow to point identify the join conditional distribution of Y0 and Y1, given the unobservables. This allows to derive every treatment effect parameter, e.g. the distribution of treatment effects and the proportion of individuals who benefit from treatment. We present estimators for the marginals, average and distribution of treatment effects, both conditional on unobservables and unconditional, as well as total population effects. The estimators use all data and discard tail values of the instruments when they are too unlikely. We provide their rates of convergence, and analyse their finite sample behaviour in a simulation study. Finally, we also discuss the situation where some of the instruments are discrete.