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Causal Diagrams For Empirical Research
"... The primary aim of this paper is to show how graphical models can be used as a mathematical language for integrating statistical and subjectmatter information. In particular, the paper develops a principled, nonparametric framework for causal inference, in which diagrams are queried to determine if ..."
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Cited by 172 (35 self)
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The primary aim of this paper is to show how graphical models can be used as a mathematical language for integrating statistical and subjectmatter information. In particular, the paper develops a principled, nonparametric framework for causal inference, in which diagrams are queried to determine if the assumptions available are sufficient for identifying causal effects from nonexperimental data. If so the diagrams can be queried to produce mathematical expressions for causal effects in terms of observed distributions; otherwise, the diagrams can be queried to suggest additional observations or auxiliary experiments from which the desired inferences can be obtained. Key words: Causal inference, graph models, interventions treatment effect 1 Introduction The tools introduced in this paper are aimed at helping researchers communicate qualitative assumptions about causeeffect relationships, elucidate the ramifications of such assumptions, and derive causal inferences from a combination...
Direct and Indirect Effects
, 2005
"... The direct effect of one event on another can be defined and measured by holding constant all intermediate variables between the two. Indirect effects present conceptual and practical difficulties (in nonlinear models), because they cannot be isolated by holding certain variables constant. This pape ..."
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Cited by 74 (23 self)
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The direct effect of one event on another can be defined and measured by holding constant all intermediate variables between the two. Indirect effects present conceptual and practical difficulties (in nonlinear models), because they cannot be isolated by holding certain variables constant. This paper presents a new way of defining the effect transmitted through a restricted set of paths, without controlling variables on the remaining paths. This permits the assessment of a more natural type of direct and indirect effects, one that is applicable in both linear and nonlinear models and that has broader policyrelated interpretations. The paper establishes conditions under which such assessments can be estimated consistently from experimental and nonexperimental data, and thus extends pathanalytic techniques to nonlinear and nonparametric models.
Causal Inference from Graphical Models
, 2001
"... Introduction The introduction of Bayesian networks (Pearl 1986b) and associated local computation algorithms (Lauritzen and Spiegelhalter 1988, Shenoy and Shafer 1990, Jensen, Lauritzen and Olesen 1990) has initiated a renewed interest for understanding causal concepts in connection with modelling ..."
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Cited by 56 (4 self)
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Introduction The introduction of Bayesian networks (Pearl 1986b) and associated local computation algorithms (Lauritzen and Spiegelhalter 1988, Shenoy and Shafer 1990, Jensen, Lauritzen and Olesen 1990) has initiated a renewed interest for understanding causal concepts in connection with modelling complex stochastic systems. It has become clear that graphical models, in particular those based upon directed acyclic graphs, have natural causal interpretations and thus form a base for a language in which causal concepts can be discussed and analysed in precise terms. As a consequence there has been an explosion of writings, not primarily within mainstream statistical literature, concerned with the exploitation of this language to clarify and extend causal concepts. Among these we mention in particular books by Spirtes, Glymour and Scheines (1993), Shafer (1996), and Pearl (2000) as well as the collection of papers in Glymour and Cooper (1999). Very briefly, but fundamentally,
Axioms of Causal Relevance
 Artificial Intelligence
, 1996
"... This paper develops axioms and formal semantics for statements of the form "X is causally irrelevant to Y in context Z," which we interpret to mean "Changing X will not affect Y if we hold Z constant." The axiomization of causal irrelevance is contrasted with the axiomization of informational irr ..."
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Cited by 52 (13 self)
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This paper develops axioms and formal semantics for statements of the form "X is causally irrelevant to Y in context Z," which we interpret to mean "Changing X will not affect Y if we hold Z constant." The axiomization of causal irrelevance is contrasted with the axiomization of informational irrelevance, as in "Learning X will not alter our belief in Y , once we know Z." Two versions of causal irrelevance are analyzed, probabilistic and deterministic. We show that, unless stability is assumed, the probabilistic definition yields a very loose structure, that is governed by just two trivial axioms. Under the stability assumption, probabilistic causal irrelevance is isomorphic to path interception in cyclic graphs. Under the deterministic definition, causal irrelevance complies with all of the axioms of path interception in cyclic graphs, with the exception of transitivity. We compare our formalism to that of [Lewis, 1973], and offer a graphical method of proving theorems abou...
Chain Graph Models and their Causal Interpretations
 B
, 2001
"... Chain graphs are a natural generalization of directed acyclic graphs (DAGs) and undirected graphs. However, the apparent simplicity of chain graphs belies the subtlety of the conditional independence hypotheses that they represent. There are a number of simple and apparently plausible, but ultim ..."
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Cited by 46 (4 self)
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Chain graphs are a natural generalization of directed acyclic graphs (DAGs) and undirected graphs. However, the apparent simplicity of chain graphs belies the subtlety of the conditional independence hypotheses that they represent. There are a number of simple and apparently plausible, but ultimately fallacious interpretations of chain graphs that are often invoked, implicitly or explicitly. These interpretations also lead to awed methods for applying background knowledge to model selection. We present a valid interpretation by showing how the distribution corresponding to a chain graph may be generated as the equilibrium distribution of dynamic models with feedback. These dynamic interpretations lead to a simple theory of intervention, extending the theory developed for DAGs. Finally, we contrast chain graph models under this interpretation with simultaneous equation models which have traditionally been used to model feedback in econometrics. Keywords: Causal model; cha...
An Axiomatic Characterization of Causal Counterfactuals
, 1998
"... This paper studies the causal interpretation of counterfactual sentences using a modifiable structural equation model. It is shown that two properties of counterfactuals, namely, composition and effectiveness, are sound and complete relative to this interpretation, when recursive (i.e., feedback ..."
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Cited by 44 (17 self)
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This paper studies the causal interpretation of counterfactual sentences using a modifiable structural equation model. It is shown that two properties of counterfactuals, namely, composition and effectiveness, are sound and complete relative to this interpretation, when recursive (i.e., feedbackless) models are considered. Composition and effectiveness also hold in Lewis's closestworld semantics, which implies that for recursive models the causal interpretation imposes no restrictions beyond those embodied in Lewis's framework. A third property, called reversibility, holds in nonrecursive causal models but not in Lewis's closestworld semantics, which implies that Lewis's axioms do not capture some properties of systems with feedback. Causal inferences based on counterfactual analysis are exemplified and compared to those based on graphical models.
Graphs, Causality, And Structural Equation Models
, 1998
"... Structural equation modeling (SEM) has dominated causal analysis in the social and behavioral sciences since the 1960s. Currently, many SEM practitioners are having difficulty articulating the causal content of SEM and are seeking foundational answers. ..."
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Cited by 44 (14 self)
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Structural equation modeling (SEM) has dominated causal analysis in the social and behavioral sciences since the 1960s. Currently, many SEM practitioners are having difficulty articulating the causal content of SEM and are seeking foundational answers.
Reasoning With Cause And Effect
, 1999
"... This paper summarizes basic concepts and principles that I have found to be useful in dealing with causal reasoning. The paper is written as a companion to a lecture under the same title, to be presented at IJCAI99, and is intended to supplement the lecture with technical details and pointers to mo ..."
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Cited by 37 (0 self)
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This paper summarizes basic concepts and principles that I have found to be useful in dealing with causal reasoning. The paper is written as a companion to a lecture under the same title, to be presented at IJCAI99, and is intended to supplement the lecture with technical details and pointers to more elaborate discussions in the literature. The ruling conception will be to treat causation as a computational schema devised to identify the invariant relationships in the environment, so as to facilitate reliable prediction of the effect of actions. This conception, as well as several of its satellite principles and tools, has been guiding paradigm for several research communities in AI, most notably those connected with causal discovery, troubleshooting, planning under uncertainty and modeling the behavior of physical systems. My hopes are to encourage a broader and more effective usage of causal modeling by explicating these common principles in simple and familiar mathematical form. Af...
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 25 (8 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.