Title: Entropy balancing for continuous treatments
Authors: Stefan Tuebbicke - Institute for Employment Research (IAB) (Germany) [presenting]
Abstract: Interest in evaluating the effects of continuous treatments has been on the rise recently. To facilitate the estimation of causal effects in this setting, the present paper introduces entropy balancing for continuous treatments (EBCT) by extending the original entropy balancing for binary treatments. In order to estimate balancing weights, the proposed approach solves a globally convex constrained optimization problem, allowing for much more computationally efficient implementation compared to other available methods. EBCT weights reliably eradicate Pearson correlations between covariates and the continuous treatment variable. This is the case even when other methods based on the generalized propensity score tend to yield insufficient balance due to strong selection into different treatment intensities. Moreover, the optimization procedure is more successful in avoiding extreme weights attached to a single unit. Extensive Monte-Carlo simulations show that treatment effect estimates using EBCT display similar or lower bias and uniformly lower root mean squared error. These properties make EBCT an attractive method for the evaluation of continuous treatments. Software implementation is available for Stata and R.