Student Talk Series: Shira Mitchell, October 29 @ 12 noon in Olin 268



Title: Causal inference for the Millennium Villages Project

Speaker: Dr. Shira Mitchell, Columbia University, Columbia Population Research Center

Abstract:  The Millennium Villages Project (MVP) is a ten-year integrated rural development project implemented in ten sub-Saharan African sites. We describe the design for causal inference about the MVP’s effect on a variety of development indicators. Causal inference for the MVP context presents many challenges: a nonrandomized design, limited baseline data for candidate control areas, and the assignment of treatment to only ten sites, limiting effective sample sizes. We develop and carry out a matching procedure tailored to small samples and designed to facilitate communication with subject-matter experts. Following the design, we propose hierarchical Bayesian causal models for multiple outcomes. This work provides a case study of the careful evaluation design of a non-randomized intervention, with clear pre-specification of the procedure and matches before outcome data are available.

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