University of Chicago
Institutional Affiliation: University of Chicago
NBER Working Papers and Publications
|March 2019||Administrative Data Linking and Statistical Power Problems in Randomized Experiments|
with Sarah Tahamont, Aaron Chalfin, Shi Yan, Benjamin Hansen: w25657
The increasing availability of large administrative datasets has led to a particularly exciting innovation in criminal justice research, that of the “low-cost” randomized trial in which administrative data are used to measure outcomes in lieu of costly primary data collection. In this paper, we point out that randomized experiments that make use of administrative data have an unfortunate consequence: the destruction of statistical power. Linking data from an experimental intervention to administrative records that track outcomes of interest typically requires matching datasets without a common unique identifier. In order to minimize mistaken linkages, researchers will often use “exact matching” (retaining an individual only if all their demographic variables match exactly in tw...