1 / 30

# Sampling and Statistical Power

Laura Chioda World Bank. Sampling and Statistical Power. Outline. Ingredients of a general recipe called “Statistical Sampling Theory” Key message : a successful design involves some guess work. It is important to have a general rule, but then needs discussion depending on the case at hand

Télécharger la présentation

## Sampling and Statistical Power

E N D

### Presentation Transcript

1. Laura Chioda World Bank Sampling and Statistical Power

2. Outline • Ingredients of a general recipe called “Statistical Sampling Theory” • Key message: a successful design involves some guess work. It is important to have a general rule, but then needs discussion depending on the case at hand • Use randomization as a benchmark • I will not deal with non-experimental designs in general, though what follows can be straightforwardly adapted to cover that case

3. Basic set up (1) • Key ingredient for impact evaluation: • Questions, what do we want to learn about this initiative/project? • How do I identify the effect that answers my questions? After this morning possibly a bit more convinced that experimental methods can be ethical, interesting and funny!! • What is Next? DATA COLLECTION, sampling and sampling design • Set up: assume we have performed our lottery and we have identified our treatment and the control groups • What we would like to measure is difference: Effect of the Program = Mean in treatment - Mean in control Example: average farmers' income who adopted fertilizer because of new incentive program vs the farmers in the control group who didn’t receive any incentives

4. Basic set up (2) • Why is Randomization good? • may produce experimental groups that differ by chance, however. These differences are random errors, not biases • when done properly allows us to identify casual effects attributable to the program. • Bottom line: randomization removes bias, but it does not remove random noise in the data. • The latter statement is the reason why we worry about sampling!!!

5. Basic set up (3) • In a world with no budget constraint we could collect data on ALL the individuals (universe) in the treatment and in the control groups. • In practice, we do not observe the entire population, just a sample. Example: we do not have data for all farmers of the country/region, but just for a random sample of them in treatment and control groups • Hence we do not measure the true effect, but we estimate the mean outcome of interest by computing the average in the sample. Example: we compute the average income for farmers in the treatment vs avg. income for farmers in the control group. Bottom line: Estimated Effect = True Effect + Noise

6. Planning Sample Size for Randomized Evaluations • The noise coming from the fact we collect data for a subset (sample) of the entire universe forces us to think about sampling & how to minimize the prob. that we may end up with a wrong conclusion (scary!!! Not really) • Question: How large does the sample need to be to credibly detect a given effect size? • What does “credibly” mean here? It means that I can measure with a certain degree of confidence the difference between participants and non-participants • Key ingredients: • number of units (e.g. villages) randomized • number of individuals (e.g. households) within units • info on the outcome of interest and the expected size of the effect on this outcome

7. Let’s go back to basics: The general idea can be easily put across by testing the hypothesis that the effect size is equal to zero We want to test: Against: >> Can be done for different groups of individuals Hypothesis Testing (1)

8. Hypothesis Testing (2) It is reasonable to think of the following “ideal” property of any testing procedure: minimize disappointment , but allow for a minimum degree of error TrueEffectSize

9. Two Types of Mistakes (1) First type of error: conclude that the program has an effect, when in fact at best it has no effect • Significance level of a test: Probability that you will falsely conclude that the program has an effect, when in fact it does not • If you find an effect with a level of 5%, you can be 95% confident in the validity of your conclusion that the program had an effect • For policy purpose, you want to be very confident of the answer you give: the level will be set fairly low • Common levels are: 5%, 10%, 1%

10. Two Types of Mistakes (2) Second Type of Error: You conclude that the program has no effect when indeed it had an effect, but it was not measure with enough precision (sort of technical, see next) • Power of a test: Probability to find a significant effect if there truly is an effect • higher power is better since I am more likely to have an effect to report • don’t think about statistics, simply look at the graph! 

11. Practical Steps • Set a pre-specified confidence level (5%) – i.e. just set the initial point of the line in the graph • Decide for a sample size that allows to achieve a given power. • Common values used are 80% or 90%. Intuitively, the larger the sample, the larger the power. • Power is a planning tool: one minus the power is the probability to be disappointed….  • Set a range of pre-specified effect sizes (what you think the program will do) • What is the smallest effect that should prompt a policy response? Aka minimum detectable effect

12. Picking an Effect Size • Wait a minute is this a catch 22, we do not know the true effect? No, it is a thought experiment, we gain insight from • economics • past data on the outcome of interest or even past evaluations • What is the smallest effect that should justify the program to be adopted? • Cost of this program v the benefits it brings • Cost of this program v the alternative use of the money • Common danger: picking effect size that are too optimistic—the sample size may be set too low to detect an actual effect 

13. Practical Steps and “magic formulas” • Proposition I: There exists at least one statistician in the world who has already put into a magic formula the optimal sample size required to address this problem  • Proposition II: The rule has also been implemented for almost all computer software • Not difficult to do, and only requires simple calculations to understand the logic (really simple!)

14. Picking an Effect Size General “rule”: the sample size required is a function of: • Significance level (often set to 5%) • Minimum detectable effect – you set this • Power to detect it (often set to 80%) • Variance of the outcome of interest before the intervention takes place (derived from baseline data)

15. The Design Factors that Influence Power • Which elements can influence the power? • The level of randomization • Stratification • Availability of Control Variables • Very fancy words, to express very simple concepts… • Statistics is nothing more than common sense

16. Level of RandomizationClustered Design (1) Cluster (or group) randomized trials are experiments in which social units or clusters rather than individuals are randomly allocated to the intervention group Examples: • First randomize villages • Then observe outcome variables at the household level • In an education program, randomize schools • Then look at students’ achievement

17. Level of RandomizationClustered Design (2) • Cluster randomization provides unbiased estimates of intervention effects for the same reasons that individual randomization does… • However, makes our lives a bit more complicated when we have to do our power calculations: • the statistical power or precision of cluster randomization is less than that for individual randomization, and often by a lot! • Necessitates larger samples to increase statistical power!

18. Implications of Clustering • Forced to “cluster”, i.e. to take into consideration that there are some elements that affect all the people in a given village/group/ basin in the same way. • Why? The outcomes for all the individuals within a cluster may be correlated • All villagers are exposed to the same NGO • The members of a village interact with each other sharing knowledge, technology and best practices.. • Individuals in a given area are exposed to the same soil characteristics. • The sample size needs to be adjusted for this correlation • The more correlation between the outcomes, the more we need to adjust the standard errors

19. In Practice… • It is extremely important to randomize an adequate number of clusters. • The general result is that the number of individuals within clusters matters less than the number of clusters • Think that the “law of large number” applies only when the number of clusters that are randomized is sufficient • Number of Clusters == Number of Observations

20. Stratification (1) • What do we mean by stratification of the sample and what is a stratum? • Esoteric expression to simply say: the more elaborate is the question you want to answer the larger is the requirement in terms of sample size • Compare the 2 scenarios: • Research question 1: I would like to know the average effect of the fertilizer program on farmers’ income? • Research question 2: I would like to know the average effect of the program for female headed low income families under the age of 35 , living in the north east? • Question: keeping all other elements constants (minimum size effect, power target, significance level) which research question will need more data in order to be answered with precision?

21. Stratification (2) • To improve precision one could block or stratify experimental sample members by some combination of their baseline characteristics, and then randomize within each block or stratum • Factors used for blocking in social research typically include: • geographic location • demographic characteristics • past outcomes Punch Line: stratification demands for larger sample size, but we get more detailed answers without sacrificing precision

22. Control Variables (1) • Good news: if control variables such as • Gender, education levels, age (demographics) • Farms characteristics, Soil composition Are available • Then the precision of our estimates will increase hence the sample size requirement decreases. This reduces variance for two reasons: • Reduces the variance of the outcome of interest in each stratum, and • Reduces the correlation of units within clusters • Warning: control variables must only include variables that are not INFLUENCED by the treatment, • i.e. variables that have been collected BEFORE the intervention • >> If not: Problem of reverse causality!

23. Control Variables (3) • What matters in terms of power is ,the residual variation after controlling for those variables • so just replicate the steps described above within strata • It may help stratifying along dimension that we know from previous studies are important for the effects of the program • Example: we might expect to have differential effects by gender or age groups >> This may help understand “non-response” rates

24. Non-response

25. Wrap up • Power calculations look scary but they are just a formalization of common sense • At times we do not have the right information to conduct it very properly • However, it is important to spend effort on them: • Avoid launching studies that will have no power at all: waste of time and money, potentially harmful • Devote the appropriate resources to the studies that you decide to conduct (and not too much)

26. Thank You

27. What do we mean by “noise”?

28. What do we mean by “noise”?

29. Relation with Confidence Intervals • A 95% confidence interval for an effect size tells us that, for 95% of any samples that we could have drawn from the same population, the estimated effect would have fallen into this interval • If zero does not belong to the 95% confidence interval of the effect size we measured, then we can be at least 95% sure that the effect size is not zero • The rule of thumb is that if the effect size is more than twice the standard error, you can conclude with more than 95% certainty that the program had an effect

30. Standardized Effect Sizes (but this is a 2OP here) • Sometimes impacts are measured as a standardized mean difference • Example: outcomes in different metrics must be combined or compared • The standardized mean effect size equals the difference in mean outcomes for the treatment group and control group, divided by the standard deviation of outcomes across subjects within experimental groups

More Related