nonexperimental; quasi-experimental; propensity score analysis; design replications; school choice
The ability of propensity score analysis (PSA) to match impact estimates derived from random assignment (RA) is examined using data from the evaluation of two interdistrict magnet schools. As in previous within study comparisons, the estimates provided by PSA and RA differ substantially when PSA is implemented using comparison groups that are not similar to the treatment group and without pretreatment measures of academic performance. Adding pretreatment measures of the performance to the PSA, however, substantially improves the match between PSA and RA estimates. Although the results should not be generalized too readily, they suggest that nonexperimental estimators can, in some circumstances, provide valid estimates of the causal impact of school choice programs.
Bifulco, Robert, "Can Propensity Score Analysis Relplicate estimates based on random evaluations of school choice? a within-study comparison" (2010). Center for Policy Research. 167.