Hi everyone, I am trying to reash an old post, since I was unable to find a solution to a modelling problem. Together with some collegues, I am working on a meta-analysis with a dataset of several RCTs where treatment comprised a combination of several aspects or features (e.g. length of treatment, frequency of treatment, type of treatment, et cetera); the objective of the model is to understand whether certain features of treatment combinations are more effective than others.

The first layer models treatment combinations averages as:

y \sim N(\theta, 1)

Where \theta represents average **combination** treatment effects, which aren’t of direct interest. What we are interested in, is the transformation \tau = R \theta, which transforms the vector \theta into average **feature** treatment effects, by taking weighted averages across elements of \theta where the certain feature is present in the combination. This is done across several RCTs and the last hierarchical layer is the parameter \lambda, which represents the common mean of all the \tau, i.e.:

\tau \sim N(\lambda, \sigma_{\tau})

\lambda \sim N(0, \sigma_{\lambda})

So what really interests us is \lambda, but we need to go through the vectors \tau to obtain it. As for the relationship between J and K, unfortunately it varies from RCT to RCT, sometimes one is greater than the other, sometimes the opposite and sometimes they are equal. I am going to post the complete code below for clarity. The issue is that the model, as I have currently coded it, does not update the values of \tau and \lambda, from the values of \theta, and so they are just zeros. I was wondering if it’s just poor coding on my part, or this procedure cannot be done on Stan (or in general).

```
data {
int<lower=0> C; //number of RCTs
int<lower=0> K1; //number of treatment combinations in RCT 1
int<lower=0> K2; //number of treatment combinations in RCT 2
vector[K1] y1; //treatment combinations in RCT 1
vector[K2] y2; //treatment combinations in RCT 2
int<lower=0> J1; //number of treatment features in RCT 1
int<lower=0> J2; //number of treatment features in RCT 2
int<lower=0> Jmax;
int feature1[J1]; //feature indexes in RCT 1
int feature2[J2]; //feature indexes in RCT 2
matrix[J1, K1] R1; //transformation matrix in RCT 1
matrix[J2, K2] R2; //transformation matrix in RCT 2
}
parameters {
vector[K1] theta1; //expectation of treatment combinations in RCT 1
vector[K2] theta2; //expectation of treatment combinations in RCT 2
real<lower=0> sigma_y; // global scale parameter for the ys
real<lower=0> sigma_tau; // global scale parameter for the thetas
real<lower=0> sigma_lambda; // global scale parameter for the lambdas
vector[Jmax] lambda;
}
transformed parameters{
vector[J1] tau1 = R1*theta1; //feature treatment effects in RCT 1
vector[J2] tau2 = R2*theta2; //feature treatment effects in RCT 2
}
model {
vector[J1] lambda1; //common feature treatment effect expectiation in RCT 1
vector[J2] lambda2; //common feature treatment effect expectiation in RCT 2
for (n in 1:J1){
lambda1[n] = lambda[feature1[n]];
}
for (n in 1:J2){
lambda2[n] = lambda[feature2[n]];
}
// Likelihood of the treatment combination means
y1 ~ normal(theta1, sigma_y);
y2 ~ normal(theta2, sigma_y);
// Prior for the treatment feature ATEs by country (2nd Hierarchical layer)
tau1 ~ normal(lambda1, sigma_tau);
tau2 ~ normal(lambda2, sigma_tau);
// Prior for the common treatment feature ATEs (3nd Hierarchical layer)
lambda ~ normal(0, sigma_lambda);
}
```