Estimating causal effects: this be madness, yet there is method in it

By Lucy D'Agostino McGowan in Invited Oral Presentation

September 8, 2023


This talk will delve into two major causal inference obstacles: (1) identifying which variables to account for and (2) assessing the impact of unmeasured variables. The first half of the talk will showcase a Causal Quartet. In the spirit of Anscombe’s Quartet, this is a set of four datasets with identical statistical properties, yet different true causal effects due to differing data generating mechanisms. These simple datasets provide a straightforward example for statisticians to point to when explaining these concepts to collaborators and students. To adjust or not adjust, that is the question; we demonstrate that statistics alone cannot be used to establish which variables to adjust for when estimating causal effects. The second half of the talk will focus on how statistical techniques can be leveraged to address unmeasured confounding. We will examine sensitivity analyses under several scenarios with varying levels of information about potential unmeasured confounders. These techniques will be applied using the tipr R package, which provides tools for conducting sensitivity analyses in a flexible and accessible manner.


September 8 – 9, 2023


3:00 PM – 4:00 PM


Appalachian State University Fall 2023