Causal Trees

Causal Trees

Linear Digressions

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What do you get when you combine the causal inference needs of econometrics with the data-driven methodology of machine learning? Usually these two don’t go well together (deriving causal conclusions from naive data methods leads to biased answers) but economists Susan Athey and Guido Imbens are on the case. This episodes explores their algorithm for recursively partitioning a dataset to find heterogeneous treatment effects, or for you ML nerds, applying decision trees to causal inference problems. It’s not a free lunch, but for those (like us!) who love crossover topics, causal trees are a smart approach from one field hopping the fence to another. Relevant links: https://www.pnas.org/content/113/27/7353
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What do you get when you combine the causal inference needs of econometrics with the data-driven methodology of machine learning? Usually these two don’t go well together (deriving causal conclusions from naive data methods leads to biased answers) but economists Susan Athey and Guido Imbens are on the case. This episodes explores their algorithm for recursively partitioning a dataset to find heterogeneous treatment effects, or for you ML nerds, applying decision trees to causal inference problems. It’s not a free lunch, but for those (like us!) who love crossover topics, causal trees are a smart approach from one field hopping the fence to another. Relevant links: https://www.pnas.org/content/113/27/7353
...Read More