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Multilevel potential outcome models for causal inference in jury research

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Recent advances in hierarchical or multilevel statistical models and causal inference using the potential outcomes framework hold tremendous promise for mock and real jury research. These advances enable researchers to explore how individual jurors can exert a bottom-up effect on

Recent advances in hierarchical or multilevel statistical models and causal inference using the potential outcomes framework hold tremendous promise for mock and real jury research. These advances enable researchers to explore how individual jurors can exert a bottom-up effect on the jury’s verdict and how case-level features can exert a top-down effect on a juror’s perception of the parties at trial. This dissertation explains and then applies these technical advances to a pre-existing mock jury dataset to provide worked examples in an effort to spur the adoption of these techniques. In particular, the paper introduces two new cross-level mediated effects and then describes how to conduct ecological validity tests with these mediated effects. The first cross-level mediated effect, the a1b1 mediated effect, is the juror level mediated effect for a jury level manipulation. The second cross-level mediated effect, the a2bc mediated effect, is the unique contextual effect that being in a jury has on the individual the juror. When a mock jury study includes a deliberation versus non-deliberation manipulation, the a1b1 can be compared for the two conditions, enabling a general test of ecological validity. If deliberating in a group generally influences the individual, then the two indirect effects should be significantly different. The a2bc can also be interpreted as a specific test of how much changes in jury level means of this specific mediator effect juror level decision-making.

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2015

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Propensity score estimation with random forests

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Random Forests is a statistical learning method which has been proposed for propensity score estimation models that involve complex interactions, nonlinear relationships, or both of the covariates. In this dissertation I conducted a simulation study to examine the effects of

Random Forests is a statistical learning method which has been proposed for propensity score estimation models that involve complex interactions, nonlinear relationships, or both of the covariates. In this dissertation I conducted a simulation study to examine the effects of three Random Forests model specifications in propensity score analysis. The results suggested that, depending on the nature of data, optimal specification of (1) decision rules to select the covariate and its split value in a Classification Tree, (2) the number of covariates randomly sampled for selection, and (3) methods of estimating Random Forests propensity scores could potentially produce an unbiased average treatment effect estimate after propensity scores weighting by the odds adjustment. Compared to the logistic regression estimation model using the true propensity score model, Random Forests had an additional advantage in producing unbiased estimated standard error and correct statistical inference of the average treatment effect. The relationship between the balance on the covariates' means and the bias of average treatment effect estimate was examined both within and between conditions of the simulation. Within conditions, across repeated samples there was no noticeable correlation between the covariates' mean differences and the magnitude of bias of average treatment effect estimate for the covariates that were imbalanced before adjustment. Between conditions, small mean differences of covariates after propensity score adjustment were not sensitive enough to identify the optimal Random Forests model specification for propensity score analysis.

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2013

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Impact of violations of longitudinal measurement invariance in latent growth models and autoregressive quasi-simplex models

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In order to analyze data from an instrument administered at multiple time points it is a common practice to form composites of the items at each wave and to fit a longitudinal model to the composites. The advantage of using

In order to analyze data from an instrument administered at multiple time points it is a common practice to form composites of the items at each wave and to fit a longitudinal model to the composites. The advantage of using composites of items is that smaller sample sizes are required in contrast to second order models that include the measurement and the structural relationships among the variables. However, the use of composites assumes that longitudinal measurement invariance holds; that is, it is assumed that that the relationships among the items and the latent variables remain constant over time. Previous studies conducted on latent growth models (LGM) have shown that when longitudinal metric invariance is violated, the parameter estimates are biased and that mistaken conclusions about growth can be made. The purpose of the current study was to examine the impact of non-invariant loadings and non-invariant intercepts on two longitudinal models: the LGM and the autoregressive quasi-simplex model (AR quasi-simplex). A second purpose was to determine if there are conditions in which researchers can reach adequate conclusions about stability and growth even in the presence of violations of invariance. A Monte Carlo simulation study was conducted to achieve the purposes. The method consisted of generating items under a linear curve of factors model (COFM) or under the AR quasi-simplex. Composites of the items were formed at each time point and analyzed with a linear LGM or an AR quasi-simplex model. The results showed that AR quasi-simplex model yielded biased path coefficients only in the conditions with large violations of invariance. The fit of the AR quasi-simplex was not affected by violations of invariance. In general, the growth parameter estimates of the LGM were biased under violations of invariance. Further, in the presence of non-invariant loadings the rejection rates of the hypothesis of linear growth increased as the proportion of non-invariant items and as the magnitude of violations of invariance increased. A discussion of the results and limitations of the study are provided as well as general recommendations.

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2013