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Non-parametric inference for the effect of a treatment on survival times with application in the health and social sciences
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Economics. Uppsala University, Units outside the University, Office of Labour Market Policy Evaluation.
2010 (English)In: Journal of Statistical Planning and Inference, ISSN 0378-3758, Vol. 140, no 7, 2122-2137 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In this paper we perform inference on the effect of a treatment on survival times in studies where the treatment assignment is not randomized and the assignment time is not known in advance. Two such studies are discussed: a heart transplant program and a study of Swedish unemployed eligible for employment subsidy. We estimate survival functions on a treated and a control group which are made comparable through matching on observed covariates. The inference is performed by conditioning on waiting time to treatment, that is, time between the entrance in the study and treatment. This can be done only when sufficient data are available. In other cases, averaging over waiting times is a possibility, although the classical interpretation of the estimated survival functions is lost unless hazards are not functions of waiting time. To show unbiasedness and to obtain an estimator of the variance, we build on the potential outcome framework, which was introduced by J. Neyman in the context of randomized experiments, and adapted to observational studies by D.B. Rubin. Our approach does not make parametric or distributional assumptions. In particular, we do not assume proportionality of the hazards compared. Small sample performance of the estimator and a derived test of no treatment effect are studied in a Monte Carlo study.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2010. Vol. 140, no 7, 2122-2137 p.
Keyword [en]
Employment subsidy, Heart transplant, Matching estimator, Observational study, Potential outcome, Survival function
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URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-137062DOI: 10.1016/j.jspi.2010.02.012ISI: 000276369000043OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-137062DiVA: diva2:378393
Correction in: Journal of Statistical Planning and Inference, 2012, vol. 142, issue 6, pages 1624–1625 doi: 10.1016/j.jspi.2012.01.004Available from: 2010-12-15 Created: 2010-12-15 Last updated: 2012-04-16Bibliographically approved

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Department of EconomicsOffice of Labour Market Policy Evaluation
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