Regression Adjustment with Many Covariates

This paper is concerned with estimation and inference on average treatment effects in randomized controlled trials when researchers observe potentially many covariates. By em- ploying Neyman’s (1923) finite population perspective, we propose a bias-corrected regression adjustment estimator using cross-fitting, and show that the proposed estimator has favorable properties over existing alternatives. For inference, we derive the first and second order terms in the stochastic component of the regression adjustment estimators, study higher order properties of the existing inference methods, and propose a bias-corrected version of the HC3 standard error. The proposed methods readily extend to stratified experiments with large strata. Simu- lation studies show our cross-fitted estimator, combined with the bias-corrected HC3, delivers precise point estimates and robust size controls over a wide range of DGPs. To illustrate, the proposed methods are applied to real dataset on randomized experiments of incentives and services for college achievement following Angrist, Lang and Oreopoulos (2009).