Bounding Causes of Effects With Mediators

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Authors
Humphreys, Macartan  ORCID logo  https://orcid.org/0000-0001-7029-2326
Musio, Monica 
Abstract

jats:p Suppose X and Y are binary exposure and outcome variables, and we have full knowledge of the distribution of Y, given application of X. We are interested in assessing whether an outcome in some case is due to the exposure. This “probability of causation” is of interest in comparative historical analysis where scholars use process tracing approaches to learn about causes of outcomes for single units by observing events along a causal path. The probability of causation is typically not identified, but bounds can be placed on it. Here, we provide a full characterization of the bounds that can be achieved in the ideal case that X and Y are connected by a causal chain of complete mediators, and we know the probabilistic structure of the full chain. Our results are largely negative. We show that, even in these very favorable conditions, the gains from positive evidence on mediators is modest. </jats:p>

Description

Peer reviewed: True

Keywords
49 Mathematical Sciences, 4905 Statistics, Patient Safety, Basic Behavioral and Social Science, Behavioral and Social Science
Journal Title
Sociological Methods &amp; Research
Conference Name
Journal ISSN
0049-1241
1552-8294
Volume Title
53
Publisher
SAGE Publications