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A school district implements a new policy that prohibits the sale of sugary drinks in public school cafeterias

INSTRUCTIONS TO CANDIDATES
ANSWER ALL QUESTIONS

A school district implements a new policy that prohibits the sale of sugary drinks in public school cafeterias, with the hope that it will cause a reduction in childhood obesity. 10 years after the new policy, the observed rate of obesity in elementary school-aged children in the district is 10%.  

Quesiton 1

a) A district official notes that the obesity rate in elementary school children in the district was 14% before the policy was initiated, which is a rate that is statistically significantly different from 10%. The official concludes that the policy caused a reduction in childhood obesity in elementary school children in the district of 4%. Which of the following assumptions are implicit in this conclusion? Choose all that apply.

  i) Randomization, that the district was randomly selected to implement the policy

  ii) Temporal stability, that the rate of obesity would have remained unchanged without the policy

  iii) Unit homogeneity, that what would happen in this district is the same as would happen in other districts with and without the policy

  iv) Constant treatment effect, that the effect of the policy is constant across districts

  v) Biological plausibility, that reduced consumption of sugar is biologically linked to the onset of diabetes

b) A second district official notes that the rate of obesity in elementary school children in a neighboring district is 10% at the end of the 10 year period. The official concludes that the policy did not causally affect childhood obesity in the treated district. Which of the following assumptions are implicit in this conclusion? Choose all that apply.

  i) Randomization, that the district was randomly selected to implement the policy

  ii) Temporal stability, that the rate of obesity would have remained unchanged without the policy

  iii) Unit homogeneity, that what would happen in this district is the same as would happen in other districts with and without the policy

  iv) Constant treatment effect, that the effect of the policy is constant across districts

  v) Biological plausibility, that reduced consumption of sugar is biologically linked to the onset of diabetes

Question 2

A researcher wishes to investigate the effect of an ad campaign on teen vaping. To do so, they conduct an experiment in which teenagers in a 20-member after school club at a local high school are randomly assigned to treatment and control groups. The 10 teens in the treatment group are shown the ads over a short period, while the 10 teens in the control group are shown a series of control ads unrelated to vaping. To measure the effect, the researchers examine the change in vaping habits for each teenager from the beginning to the end of the study period.

i) Which of the following assumptions is most likely to be violated by this experiment?

  ii) Balance across treatment/control groups

  iii) Independent treatment assignment

  iv) No interference

  v) No multiple versions of treatment

  vi) Unconfounded / ignorable assignment mechanism

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