Statistical Analysis of ‘Probabilities of Causation’ Using Co-variate Information


Manabu Kuroki, Department of Systems Innovation, Graduate School of Engineering Science, Osaka University, 1-3, Machikaneyama-cho, Toyonaka, Osaka, 560-8531, Japan.


Abstract.  This article deals with two problems concering the probabilities of causation defined by Pearl (Causality: models, reasoning, and inference, 2nd edn, 2009, Cambridge University Press, New York) namely, the probability that one observed event was a necessary (or sufficient, or both) cause of another; one is to derive new bounds, and the other is to provide the covariate selection criteria. Tian & Pearl (Ann. Math. Artif. Intell., 28, 2000, 287–313) showed how to bound the probabilities of causation using information from experimental and observational studies, with minimal assumptions about the data-generating process, and identifiable conditions for these probabilities. In this article, we derive narrower bounds using covariate information that is available from those studies. In addition, we propose the conditional monotonicity assumption so as to further narrow the bounds. Moreover, we discuss the covariate selection problem from the viewpoint of the estimation accuracy, and show that selecting a covariate that has a direct effect on an outcome variable cannot always improve the estimation accuracy, which is contrary to the situation in linear regression models. These results provide more accurate information for public policy, legal determination of responsibility and personal decision making.