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J Causal Inference. 2015 Sep;3(2):237-249. doi: 10.1515/jci-2014-0039. Epub 2015 May 14.

Propensity Score Analysis with Survey Weighted Data.

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RAND Corporation, Santa Monica, CA, USA.
Department of Internal Medicine, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA.


Propensity score analysis (PSA) is a common method for estimating treatment effects, but researchers dealing with data from survey designs are generally not properly accounting for the sampling weights in their analyses. Moreover, recommendations given in the few existing methodological articles on this subject are susceptible to bias. We show in this article through derivation, simulation, and a real data example that using sampling weights in the propensity score estimation stage and the outcome model stage results in an estimator that is robust to a variety of conditions that lead to bias for estimators currently recommended in the statistical literature. We highly recommend researchers use the more robust approach described here. This article provides much needed rigorous statistical guidance for researchers working with survey designs involving sampling weights and using PSAs.


propensity score; sampling weights; survey weights

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