Tue, 04 Jul 2023
1.Identifying Optimal Methods for Addressing Confounding Bias When Estimating the Effects of State-Level Policies
Authors:Beth Ann Griffin, Megan S. Schuler, Elizabeth M. Stone, Stephen W. Patrick, Bradley D. Stein, Pedro Nascimento de Lima, Max Griswold, Adam Scherling, Elizabeth A. Stuart
Abstract: Background: Policy evaluation studies that assess how state-level policies affect health-related outcomes are foundational to health and social policy research. The relative ability of newer analytic methods to address confounding, a key source of bias in observational studies, has not been closely examined. Methods: We conducted a simulation study to examine how differing magnitudes of confounding affected the performance of four methods used for policy evaluations: (1) the two-way fixed effects (TWFE) difference-in-differences (DID) model; (2) a one-period lagged autoregressive (AR) model; (3) augmented synthetic control method (ASCM); and (4) the doubly robust DID approach with multiple time periods from Callaway-Sant'Anna (CSA). We simulated our data to have staggered policy adoption and multiple confounding scenarios (i.e., varying the magnitude and nature of confounding relationships). Results: Bias increased for each method: (1) as confounding magnitude increases; (2) when confounding is generated with respect to prior outcome trends (rather than levels), and (3) when confounding associations are nonlinear (rather than linear). The AR and ASCM have notably lower root mean squared error than the TWFE model and CSA approach for all scenarios; the exception is nonlinear confounding by prior trends, where CSA excels. Coverage rates are unreasonably high for ASCM (e.g., 100%), reflecting large model-based standard errors and wide confidence intervals in practice. Conclusions: Our simulation study indicated that no single method consistently outperforms the others. But a researcher's toolkit should include all methodological options. Our simulations and associated R package can help researchers choose the most appropriate approach for their data.
2.A PC-Kriging-HDMR integrated with an adaptive sequential sampling strategy for high-dimensional approximate modeling
Authors:Yili Zhang, Hanyan Huang, Mei Xiong, Zengquan Yao
Abstract: High-dimensional complex multi-parameter problems are prevalent in engineering, exceeding the capabilities of traditional surrogate models designed for low/medium-dimensional problems. These models face the curse of dimensionality, resulting in decreased modeling accuracy as the design parameter space expands. Furthermore, the lack of a parameter decoupling mechanism hinders the identification of couplings between design variables, particularly in highly nonlinear cases. To address these challenges and enhance prediction accuracy while reducing sample demand, this paper proposes a PC-Kriging-HDMR approximate modeling method within the framework of Cut-HDMR. The method leverages the precision of PC-Kriging and optimizes test point placement through a multi-stage adaptive sequential sampling strategy. This strategy encompasses a first-stage adaptive proportional sampling criterion and a second-stage central-based maximum entropy criterion. Numerical tests and a practical application involving a cantilever beam demonstrate the advantages of the proposed method. Key findings include: (1) The performance of traditional single-surrogate models, such as Kriging, significantly deteriorates in high-dimensional nonlinear problems compared to combined surrogate models under the Cut-HDMR framework (e.g., Kriging-HDMR, PCE-HDMR, SVR-HDMR, MLS-HDMR, and PC-Kriging-HDMR); (2) The number of samples required for PC-Kriging-HDMR modeling increases polynomially rather than exponentially as the parameter space expands, resulting in substantial computational cost reduction; (3) Among existing Cut-HDMR methods, no single approach outperforms the others in all aspects. However, PC-Kriging-HDMR exhibits improved modeling accuracy and efficiency within the desired improvement range compared to PCE-HDMR and Kriging-HDMR, demonstrating robustness.
3.A Double Machine Learning Approach to Combining Experimental and Observational Data
Authors:Marco Morucci, Vittorio Orlandi, Harsh Parikh, Sudeepa Roy, Cynthia Rudin, Alexander Volfovsky
Abstract: Experimental and observational studies often lack validity due to untestable assumptions. We propose a double machine learning approach to combine experimental and observational studies, allowing practitioners to test for assumption violations and estimate treatment effects consistently. Our framework tests for violations of external validity and ignorability under milder assumptions. When only one assumption is violated, we provide semi-parametrically efficient treatment effect estimators. However, our no-free-lunch theorem highlights the necessity of accurately identifying the violated assumption for consistent treatment effect estimation. We demonstrate the applicability of our approach in three real-world case studies, highlighting its relevance for practical settings.