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Causal Analysis after Haavelmo

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Author Info

  • Heckman, James J.

    ()
    (University of Chicago)

  • Pinto, Rodrigo

    ()
    (University of Chicago)

Abstract

Haavelmo's seminal 1943 paper is the first rigorous treatment of causality. In it, he distinguished the definition of causal parameters from their identification. He showed that causal parameters are de fined using hypothetical models that assign variation to some of the inputs determining outcomes while holding all other inputs fixed. He thus formalized and made operational Marshall's (1890) ceteris paribus analysis. We embed Haavelmo's framework into the recursive framework of Directed Acyclic Graphs (DAG) used in one influential recent approach to causality (Pearl, 2000) and in the related literature on Bayesian nets (Lauritzen, 1996). We compare an approach based on Haavelmo's methodology with a standard approach in the causal literature of DAGs – the "do-calculus" of Pearl (2009). We discuss the limitations of DAGs and in particular of the do-calculus of Pearl in securing identification of economic models. We extend our framework to consider models for simultaneous causality, a central contribution of Haavelmo (1944). In general cases, DAGs cannot be used to analyze models for simultaneous causality, but Haavelmo's approach naturally generalizes to cover it.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 7628.

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Length: 52 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2013
Date of revision:
Publication status: forthcoming in: Econometric Theory, 2014
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp7628

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Keywords: directed acyclic graphs; do-calculus; identification; causality; simultaneous treatment effects;

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References

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  1. James J. Heckman, 2008. "Econometric Causality," Working Papers 200826, Geary Institute, University College Dublin.
  2. Elie Tamer, 2003. "Incomplete Simultaneous Discrete Response Model with Multiple Equilibria," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 70(1), pages 147-165.
  3. James J. Heckman & Edward Vytlacil, 2005. "Structural Equations, Treatment Effects and Econometric Policy Evaluation," NBER Technical Working Papers 0306, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Hansen, Lars Peter & Sargent, Thomas J., 1980. "Formulating and estimating dynamic linear rational expectations models," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 2(1), pages 7-46, May.
  5. Edward Vytlacil, 2002. "Independence, Monotonicity, and Latent Index Models: An Equivalence Result," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(1), pages 331-341, January.
  6. Mas-Colell, Andreu & Whinston, Michael D. & Green, Jerry R., 1995. "Microeconomic Theory," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195102680.
  7. Steffen L. Lauritzen & Thomas S. Richardson, 2002. "Chain graph models and their causal interpretations," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series B, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 64(3), pages 321-348.
  8. Elie Tamer, 2003. "Incomplete Simultaneous Discrete Response Model with Multiple Equilibria," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 70(1), pages 147-165, January.
  9. James J. Heckman, 1976. "The Common Structure of Statistical Models of Truncation, Sample Selection and Limited Dependent Variables and a Simple Estimator for Such Models," NBER Chapters, in: Annals of Economic and Social Measurement, Volume 5, number 4, pages 475-492 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Marshall, Alfred, 1890. "The Principles of Economics," History of Economic Thought Books, McMaster University Archive for the History of Economic Thought, number marshall1890.
  11. Heckman, James J, 1978. "Dummy Endogenous Variables in a Simultaneous Equation System," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(4), pages 931-59, July.
  12. James J. Heckman & Thomas E. MaCurdy, 1985. "A Simultaneous Equations Linear Probability Model," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 18(1), pages 28-37, February.
  13. Karim Chalak & Halbert White, 2008. "Causality, Conditional Independence, and Graphical Separation in Settable Systems," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 689, Boston College Department of Economics, revised 04 Jul 2010.
  14. Whitney K. Newey & James L. Powell, 2003. "Instrumental Variable Estimation of Nonparametric Models," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(5), pages 1565-1578, 09.
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Blog mentions

As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
  1. Predictive Modeling, Causal Inference, and Imbens-Rubin (Among Others)
    by Francis Diebold in No Hesitations on 2014-05-06 13:10:00

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