A deterministic matching method for exact matchings to compare the outcome of different interventions

01/18/2021 ∙ by Felix Bestehorn, et al. ∙ 0

Statistical matching methods are widely used in the social and health sciences to estimate causal effects using observational data. Often the objective is to find comparable groups with similar covariate distributions in a dataset, with the aim to reduce bias in a random experiment. We aim to develop a foundation for deterministic methods which provide results with low bias, while retaining interpretability. The proposed method matches on the covariates and calculates all possible maximal exact matchesfor a given dataset without adding numerical errors. Notable advantages of our method over existing matching algorithms are that all available information for exact matches is used, no additional bias is introduced, it can be combined with other matching methods for inexact matching to reduce pruning and that the result is calculated in a fast and deterministic way. For a given dataset the result is therefore provably unique for exact matches in the mathematical sense. We provide proofs, instructions for implementation as well as a numerical example calculated for comparison on a complete survey.

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