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  1. Abstract

    Randomisation inference (RI) is typically interpreted as testing Fisher’s ‘sharp’ null hypothesis that all unit-level effects are exactly zero. This hypothesis is often criticised as restrictive and implausible, making its rejection scientifically uninteresting. We show, however, that many randomisation tests are also valid for a ‘bounded’ null hypothesis under which the unit-level effects are all non-positive (or all non-negative) but are otherwise heterogeneous. In addition to being more plausible a priori, bounded nulls are closely related to substantively important concepts such as monotonicity and Pareto efficiency. Reinterpreting RI in this way expands the range of inferences possible in this framework. We show that exact confidence intervals for the maximum (or minimum) unit-level effect can be obtained by inverting tests for a sequence of bounded nulls. We also generalise RI to cover inference for quantiles of the individual effect distribution as well as for the proportion of individual effects larger (or smaller) than a given threshold. The proposed confidence intervals for all effect quantiles are simultaneously valid, in the sense that no correction for multiple analyses is required. In sum, our reinterpretation and generalisation provide a broader justification for randomisation tests and a basis for exact non-parametric inference for effect quantiles.

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  2. Free, publicly-accessible full text available July 1, 2024
  3. Summary

    Power analyses are an important aspect of experimental design, because they help determine how experiments are implemented in practice. It is common to specify a desired level of power and compute the sample size necessary to obtain that power. Such calculations are well known for completely randomized experiments, but there can be many benefits to using other experimental designs. For example, it has recently been established that rerandomization, where subjects are randomized until covariate balance is obtained, increases the precision of causal effect estimators. This work establishes the power of rerandomized treatment-control experiments, thereby allowing for sample size calculators. We find the surprising result that, while power is often greater under rerandomization than complete randomization, the opposite can occur for very small treatment effects. The reason is that inference under rerandomization can be relatively more conservative, in the sense that it can have a lower Type-I error at the same nominal significance level, and this additional conservativeness adversely affects power. This surprising result is due to treatment effect heterogeneity, a quantity often ignored in power analyses. We find that heterogeneity increases power for large effect sizes, but decreases power for small effect sizes.

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