Propensity score weighting with multilevel data.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Propensity score methods are being increasingly used as a less parametric alternative to traditional regression to balance observed differences across groups in both descriptive and causal comparisons. Data collected in many disciplines often have analytically relevant multilevel or clustered structure. The propensity score, however, was developed and has been used primarily with unstructured data. We present and compare several propensity-score-weighted estimators for clustered data, including marginal, cluster-weighted, and doubly robust estimators. Using both analytical derivations and Monte Carlo simulations, we illustrate bias arising when the usual assumptions of propensity score analysis do not hold for multilevel data. We show that exploiting the multilevel structure, either parametrically or nonparametrically, in at least one stage of the propensity score analysis can greatly reduce these biases. We applied these methods to a study of racial disparities in breast cancer screening among beneficiaries of Medicare health plans.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Li, F; Zaslavsky, AM; Landrum, MB

Published Date

  • August 2013

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 32 / 19

Start / End Page

  • 3373 - 3387

PubMed ID

  • 23526267

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC3710526

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1097-0258

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0277-6715

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1002/sim.5786


  • eng