distmatch: Optimal distance matching in observational studies

Description Usage Arguments Value Author(s) References See Also Examples

View source: R/distmatch.r

Description

Function for optimal distance matching in observational studies. distmatch minimizes the total sum of covariate distances between matches. distmatch is a wrapper to bmatch.

Usage

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	distmatch(t_ind, dist_mat = NULL, solver = NULL)

Arguments

t_ind

treatment indicator: a vector of zeros and ones indicating treatment (1 = treated; 0 = control). Please note that the data needs to be sorted in decreasing order according to this treatment indicator.

dist_mat

distance matrix: a matrix of positive distances between treated units (rows) and controls (columns). If dist_mat = NULL and subset_weight = 1, then bmatch will solve the cardinality matching problem in Zubizarreta et al. (2014).

solver

Optimization solver parameters: a list with four objects,

solver = list(name = name, t_max = t_max, approximate = 1, round_cplex = 0,
trace_cplex = 0).

solver is a string that determines the optimization solver to be used. The options are: cplex, glpk, gurobi and symphony. The default solver is glpk with approximate = 1, so that by default an approximate solution is found (see approximate below). For an exact solution, we strongly recommend using cplex or gurobi as they are much faster than the other solvers, but they do require a license (free for academics, but not for people outside universities). Between cplex and gurobi, note that installing the R interface for gurobi is much simpler.

t_max is a scalar with the maximum time limit for finding the matches. This option is specific to cplex and gurobi. If the optimal matches are not found within this time limit, a partial, suboptimal solution is given.

approximate is a scalar that determines the method of solution. If approximate = 1 (the default), an approximate solution is found via a relaxation of the original integer program. This method of solution is faster than approximate = 0, but some balancing constraints may be violated to some extent. This option works only with n_controls = 1, i.e. pair matching.

round_cplex is binary specific to cplex. round_cplex = 1 ensures that the solution found is integral by rounding and all the constraints are exactly statisfied; round_cplex = 0 (the default) encodes there is no rounding which may return slightly infeasible integer solutions.

trace is a binary specific to cplex and gurobi. trace = 1 turns the optimizer output on. The default is trace = 0.

Value

A list containing the optimal solution, with the following objects:

obj_total

value of the objective function at the optimum;

obj_dist_mat

value of the total sum of distances term of the objective function at the optimum;

t_id

indexes of the matched controls at the optimum;

c_id

indexes of the matched controls at the optimum;

group_id

matched pairs or groups at the optimum;

time

time elapsed to find the optimal solution.

Author(s)

Jose R. Zubizarreta <[email protected]>, Cinar Kilcioglu <[email protected]>.

References

Rosenbaum, P. R. (2010), Design of Observational Studies, Springer.

See Also

sensitivitymv, sensitivitymw.

Examples

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# Load, sort, and attach data
data(lalonde)
lalonde = lalonde[order(lalonde$treatment, decreasing = TRUE), ]
attach(lalonde)

################################# 
# Step 1: use cardinality matching to find the largest sample of matched pairs for which 
# all the covariates are finely balanced.
#################################

# Discretize covariates
quantiles = function(covar, n_q) {
	p_q = seq(0, 1, 1/n_q)
	val_q = quantile(covar, probs = p_q, na.rm = TRUE)
	covar_out = rep(NA, length(covar))
	for (i in 1:n_q) {
		if (i==1) {covar_out[covar<val_q[i+1]] = i}
		if (i>1 & i<n_q) {covar_out[covar>=val_q[i] & covar<val_q[i+1]] = i}
		if (i==n_q) {covar_out[covar>=val_q[i] & covar<=val_q[i+1]] = i}}
	covar_out
}
age_5 = quantiles(age, 5)
education_5 = quantiles(education, 5)
re74_5 = quantiles(re74, 5)
re75_5 = quantiles(re75, 5)

# Treatment indicator; note that the data needs to be sorted in decreasing order
# according to this treatment indicator
t_ind = treatment
t_ind 

# Fine balance
fine_covs = cbind(black, hispanic, married, nodegree, age_5, education_5, re74_5, re75_5)
fine = list(covs = fine_covs)

# Solver options
t_max = 60*5
solver = "glpk"
approximate = 0
solver = list(name = solver, t_max = t_max, approximate = approximate,
round_cplex = 0, trace = 0)

# Match                   
out_1 = cardmatch(t_ind, fine = fine, solver = solver)

# Indices of the treated units and matched controls
t_id_1 = out_1$t_id  
c_id_1 = out_1$c_id	

# Mean balance
covs = cbind(age, education, black, hispanic, married, nodegree, re74, re75)
meantab(covs, t_ind, t_id_1, c_id_1)

# Fine balance (note here we are getting an approximate solution)
for (i in 1:ncol(fine_covs)) {		
	print(finetab(fine_covs[, i], t_id_1, c_id_1))
}

################################# 
# Step 2: use optimal matching (minimum distance matching) to find the (re)pairing of
# treated and control that minimizes the total sum of covariate distances between matched 
# pairs.  For this, use the function 'distmatch' which is a wrapper for 'bmatch'.  
#################################

# New treatment indicator
t_ind_2 = t_ind[c(t_id_1, c_id_1)]
table(t_ind_2)

# To build the distance matrix, the idea is to use strong predictors of the outcome
dist_mat_2 = abs(outer(re74[t_id_1], re74[c_id_1], "-"))
dim(dist_mat_2)

# Match
out_2 = distmatch(t_ind_2, dist_mat_2, solver)

# Indices of the treated units and matched controls
t_id_2 = t_id_1[out_2$t_id]  
c_id_2 = c_id_1[out_2$c_id-length(out_2$c_id)]	

# Covariate balance is preserved...
meantab(covs, t_ind, t_id_2, c_id_2)
for (i in 1:ncol(fine_covs)) {		
	print(finetab(fine_covs[, i], t_id_2, c_id_2))
}

# ... but covariate distances are reduced
distances_step_1 = sum(diag(dist_mat_2)) 
distances_step_2 = sum(diag(dist_mat_2[out_2$t_id, out_2$c_id-length(out_2$c_id)])) 
distances_step_1
distances_step_2

# The mean difference in outcomes is the same...
mean(re78[t_id_1]-re78[c_id_1])
mean(re78[t_id_2]-re78[c_id_2])

# ... but their standard deviation is reduced
sd(re78[t_id_1]-re78[c_id_1])
sd(re78[t_id_2]-re78[c_id_2])
	

designmatch documentation built on June 19, 2018, 1 a.m.