Bias Due to Sample Selection in Propensity Score Matching for a Supportive Housing Program Evaluation in New York City

Lim, Sungwoo; Marcus, Sue M.; Singh, Tejinder P.; Harris, Tiffany G.; Seligson, Amber Levanon

Little is known about influences of sample selection on estimation in propensity score matching. The purpose of the study was to assess potential selection bias using one-to-one greedy matching versus optimal full matching as part of an evaluation of supportive housing in New York City (NYC).

Study Design and Settings
Data came from administrative data for 2 groups of applicants who were eligible for an NYC supportive housing program in 2007–09, including chronically homeless adults with a substance use disorder and young adults aging out of foster care. We evaluated the 2 matching methods in their ability to balance covariates and represent the original population, and in how those methods affected outcomes related to Medicaid expenditures.

In the population with a substance use disorder, only optimal full matching performed well in balancing covariates, whereas both methods created representative populations. In the young adult population, both methods balanced covariates effectively, but only optimal full matching created representative populations. In the young adult population, the impact of the program on Medicaid expenditures was attenuated when one-to-one greedy matching was used, compared with optimal full matching.

Given covariate balancing with both methods, attenuated program impacts in the young adult population indicated that one-to-one greedy matching introduced selection bias.

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Public Library of Science
Published Here
June 2, 2016