Asymptotics of Caliper Matching Estimators for Average Treatment Effects


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Caliper matching is used to estimate causal effects of a binary treatment from observational data by comparing matched treated and control units. Units are matched when their propensity scores, the conditional probability of receiving treatment given pretreatment covariates, are within a certain distance called caliper. So far, theoretical results on caliper matching are lacking, leaving practitioners with ad-hoc caliper choices and inference procedures. We bridge this gap by proposing a caliper that balances the quality and the number of matches. We prove that the resulting estimator of the average treatment effect, and average treatment effect on the treated, is asymptotically unbiased and normal at parametric rate. We describe the conditions under which semiparametric efficiency is obtainable, and show that when the parametric propensity score is estimated, the variance is increased for both estimands. Finally, we construct asymptotic confidence intervals for the two estimands.