Rerandomization and Regression Adjustment


Speaker:Xinran Li, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Host:Xiaojun Mao, School of Data Science, Fudan University
Time:16:00-17:00, January  5, 2020
Location:Zibin N102, Fudan University
Abstract:Randomization is a basis for the statistical inference of treatment effects without strong assumptions on the outcome-generating process. Appropriately using covariates further yields more precise estimators in randomized experiments. R. A. Fisher suggested blocking on discrete covariates in the design stage or conducting the analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) in the analysis stage. We can embed blocking into a wider class of experimental design called rerandomization, and extend the classical ANCOVA to more general regression adjustment. Rerandomization trumps complete randomization in the design stage, and regression adjustment trumps the simple difference-in-means estimator in the analysis stage. It is then intuitive to use both rerandomization and regression adjustment. Under the randomization-inference framework, we establish a unified theory allowing the designer and analyzer to have access to different sets of covariates. We find that asymptotically (a) for any given estimator with or without regression adjustment, rerandomization never hurts either the sampling precision or the estimated precision, and (b) for any given design with or without rerandomization, our regression-adjusted estimator never hurts the estimated precision. Therefore, combining rerandomization and regression adjustment yields better coverage properties and thus improves statistical inference. To theoretically quantify these statements, we first propose two notions of optimal regression-adjusted estimators, and then measure the additional gains of the designer and the analyzer in the sampling precision and the estimated precision. We finally suggest using rerandomization in the design and regression adjustment in the analysis followed by the Huber–White robust standard error.

Dr. Xinran Li is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Statistics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.