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44
Causal inference in statistics: An Overview
, 2009
"... This review presents empirical researcherswith recent advances in causal inference, and stresses the paradigmatic shifts that must be undertaken in moving from traditional statistical analysis to causal analysis of multivariate data. Special emphasis is placed on the assumptions that underly all ca ..."
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Cited by 61 (12 self)
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This review presents empirical researcherswith recent advances in causal inference, and stresses the paradigmatic shifts that must be undertaken in moving from traditional statistical analysis to causal analysis of multivariate data. Special emphasis is placed on the assumptions that underly all causal inferences, the languages used in formulating those assumptions, the conditional nature of all causal and counterfactual claims, and the methods that have been developed for the assessment of such claims. These advances are illustrated using a general theory of causation based on the Structural Causal Model (SCM) described in Pearl (2000a), which subsumes and unifies other approaches to causation, and provides a coherent mathematical foundation for the analysis of causes and counterfactuals. In particular, the paper surveys the development of mathematical tools for inferring (from a combination of data and assumptions) answers to three types of causal queries: (1) queries about the effects of potential interventions, (also called “causal effects ” or “policy evaluation”) (2) queries about probabilities of counterfactuals, (including assessment of “regret, ” “attribution” or “causes of effects”) and (3) queries about direct and indirect effects (also known as “mediation”). Finally, the paper defines the formal and conceptual relationships between the structural and potentialoutcome frameworks and presents tools for a symbiotic analysis that uses the strong features of both.
On a Class of BiasAmplifying Variables that Endanger Effect Estimates
, 2010
"... This note deals with a class of variables that, if conditioned on, tends to amplify confounding bias in the analysis of causal effects. This class, independently discovered by Bhattacharya and Vogt (2007) and Wooldridge (2009), includes instrumental variables and variables that have greater influenc ..."
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Cited by 22 (9 self)
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This note deals with a class of variables that, if conditioned on, tends to amplify confounding bias in the analysis of causal effects. This class, independently discovered by Bhattacharya and Vogt (2007) and Wooldridge (2009), includes instrumental variables and variables that have greater influence on treatment selection than on the outcome. We offer a simple derivation and an intuitive explanation of this phenomenon and then extend the analysis to non linear models. We show that: 1. the biasamplifying potential of instrumental variables extends over to nonlinear models, though not as sweepingly as in linear models; 2. in nonlinear models, conditioning on instrumental variables may introduce new bias where none existed before; 3. in both linear and nonlinear models, instrumental variables have no effect on selectioninduced bias. 1
Controlling Selection Bias in Causal Inference
, 2012
"... Selection bias, caused by preferential exclusion of samples from the data, is a major obstacle to valid causal and statistical inferences; it cannot be removed by randomized experiments and can hardly be detected in either experimental or observational studies. This paper highlights several graphica ..."
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Cited by 21 (12 self)
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Selection bias, caused by preferential exclusion of samples from the data, is a major obstacle to valid causal and statistical inferences; it cannot be removed by randomized experiments and can hardly be detected in either experimental or observational studies. This paper highlights several graphical and algebraic methods capable of mitigating and sometimes eliminating this bias. These nonparametric methods generalize previously reported results, and identify the type of knowledge that is needed for reasoning in the presence of selection bias. Specifically, we derive a general condition together with a procedure for deciding recoverability of the odds ratio (OR) from sbiased data. We show that recoverability is feasible if and only if our condition holds. We further offer a new method of controlling selection bias using instrumental variables that permits the recovery of other effect measures besides OR. 1
Trygve Haavelmo and the Emergence of Causal Calculus
, 2012
"... Haavelmo was the first to recognize the capacity of economic models to guide policies. This paper describes some of the barriers that Haavelmo’s ideas have had (and still have) to overcome, and lays out a logical framework for capturing the relationships between theory, data and policy questions. Th ..."
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Cited by 15 (5 self)
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Haavelmo was the first to recognize the capacity of economic models to guide policies. This paper describes some of the barriers that Haavelmo’s ideas have had (and still have) to overcome, and lays out a logical framework for capturing the relationships between theory, data and policy questions. The mathematical tools that emerge from this framework now enable investigators to answer complex policy and counterfactual questions using embarrassingly simple routines, some by mere inspection of the model’s structure. Several such problems are illustrated by examples, including misspecification tests, identification, mediation and introspection. Finally, we observe that modern economists are largely unaware of the benefits that Haavelmo’s ideas bestow upon them and, as a result, econometric research has not fully utilized modern advances in causal analysis. 1
On the Consistency Rule in Causal Inference: An Axiom, Definition, Assumption, or a Theorem?
"... ..."
Recovering from selection bias in causal and statistical inference
"... Selection bias is caused by preferential exclusion of units from the samples and represents a major obstacle to valid causal and statistical inferences; it cannot be removed by randomized experiments and can rarely be detected in either experimental or observational studies. In this paper, we provi ..."
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Cited by 13 (7 self)
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Selection bias is caused by preferential exclusion of units from the samples and represents a major obstacle to valid causal and statistical inferences; it cannot be removed by randomized experiments and can rarely be detected in either experimental or observational studies. In this paper, we provide complete graphical and algorithmic conditions for recovering conditional probabilities from selection biased data. We also provide graphical conditions for recoverability when unbiased data is available over a subset of the variables. Finally, we provide a graphical condition that generalizes the backdoor criterion and serves to recover causal effects when the data is collected under preferential selection.
Adjustments and their Consequences  Collapsibility Analysis using Graphical Models
, 2010
"... We consider probabilistic and graphical rules for detecting situations in which a dependence of one variable on another is altered by adjusting for a third variable (i.e., noncollapsibility), whether that dependence is causal or purely predictive. We focus on distinguishing situations in which adjus ..."
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Cited by 12 (3 self)
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We consider probabilistic and graphical rules for detecting situations in which a dependence of one variable on another is altered by adjusting for a third variable (i.e., noncollapsibility), whether that dependence is causal or purely predictive. We focus on distinguishing situations in which adjustment will reduce, increase, or leave unchanged the degree of bias in an association of two variables when that association is taken to represent a causal effect of one variable on the other. We then consider situations in which adjustment may partially remove or introduce a potential source of bias in estimating causal effects, and some additional special cases useful for casecontrol studies, cohort studies with loss, and trials with noncompliance (nonadherence).
A General Algorithm for Deciding Transportability of Experimental Results
, 2013
"... Generalizing empirical findings to new environments, settings, or populations is essential in most scientific explorations. This article treats a particular problem of generalizability, called “transportability”, defined as a license to transfer information learned in experimental studies to a diff ..."
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Cited by 10 (5 self)
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Generalizing empirical findings to new environments, settings, or populations is essential in most scientific explorations. This article treats a particular problem of generalizability, called “transportability”, defined as a license to transfer information learned in experimental studies to a different population, on which only observational studies can be conducted. Given a set of assumptions concerning commonalities and differences between the two populations, Pearl and Bareinboim [1] derived sufficient conditions that permit such transfer to take place. This article summarizes their findings and supplements them with an effective procedure for deciding when and how transportability is feasible. It establishes a necessary and sufficient condition for deciding when causal effects in the target population are estimable from both the statistical information available and the causal information transferred from the experiments. The article further provides a complete algorithm for computing the transport formula, that is, a way of combining observational and experimental information to synthesize biasfree estimate of the desired causal relation. Finally, the article examines the differences between transportability and other variants of generalizability.
Graphical Causal Models
, 2013
"... This chapter discusses the use of directed acyclic graphs (DAGs) for causal inference in the observational social sciences. It focuses on DAGs’ main uses, discusses central principles, and gives applied examples. DAGs are visual representations of qualitative causal assumptions: They encode resear ..."
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Cited by 8 (3 self)
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This chapter discusses the use of directed acyclic graphs (DAGs) for causal inference in the observational social sciences. It focuses on DAGs’ main uses, discusses central principles, and gives applied examples. DAGs are visual representations of qualitative causal assumptions: They encode researchers ’ beliefs about how the world works. Straightforward rules map these causal assumptions onto the associations and independencies in observable data. The two primary uses of DAGs are (1) determining the identifiability of causal effects from observed data and (2) deriving the testable implications of a causal model. Concepts covered in this chapter include identification, dseparation, confounding, endogenous selection, and over control. Illustrative applications then demonstrate that conditioning on variables at any stage in a causal process can induce as well as remove bias, that confounding is a fundamentally causal rather than an associational concept, that conventional approaches to causal mediation analysis are often biased, and that causal inference in social networks inherently faces endogenous selection bias. The chapter discusses several graphical criteria for the identification of causal effects of single, timepoint treatments (including the famous backdoor criterion), as well identification criteria for multiple, timevarying treatments.