Published on Wed Sep 08 2021

Parameterizing and Simulating from Causal Models

See More ...

Many statistical problems in causal inference involve a probability
distribution other than the one from which data are actually observed; as an
additional complication, the object of interest is often a marginal quantity of
this other probability distribution. This creates many practical complications
for statistical inference, even where the problem is non-parametrically
identified. In particular, it is difficult to perform likelihood-based
inference, or even to simulate from the model in a general way.
We introduce the `frugal parameterization', which places the causal effect of
interest at its centre, and then builds the rest of the model around it. We do
this in a way that provides a recipe for constructing a regular, non-redundant
parameterization using causal quantities of interest. In the case of discrete
variables we can use odds ratios to complete the parameterization, while in the
continuous case copulas are the natural choice; other possibilities are also
discussed.
Our methods allow us to construct and simulate from models with
parametrically specified causal distributions, and fit them using
likelihood-based methods, including fully Bayesian approaches. Our proposal
includes parameterizations for the average causal effect and effect of
treatment on the treated, as well as other causal quantities of interest.

2

8

93