Misunderstandings between experimentalists and observationalists about causal inference
We attempt to clarify, and suggest how to avoid, several serious misunderstandings about and fallacies of causal inference. These issues concern some of the most fundamental advantages and disadvantages of each basic research design. Problems include improper use of hypothesis tests for covariate balance between the treated and control groups, and the consequences of using randomization, blocking before randomization and matching after assignment of treatment to achieve covariate balance. Applied researchers in a wide range of scientific disciplines seem to fall prey to one or more of these fallacies and as a result make suboptimal design or analysis choices. To clarify these points, we derive a new four-part decomposition of the key estimation errors in making causal inferences. We then show how this decomposition can help scholars from different experimental and observational research traditions to understand better each other's inferential problems and attempted solutions. Copyright (c) 2008 Royal Statistical Society.
If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
Volume (Year): 171 (2008)
Issue (Month): 2 ()
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: |
Web page: http://wileyonlinelibrary.com/journal/rssa
More information through EDIRC
|Order Information:||Web: http://ordering.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/subs.asp?ref=1467-985X&doi=10.1111/(ISSN)1467-985X|
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:bla:jorssa:v:171:y:2008:i:2:p:481-502. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Wiley-Blackwell Digital Licensing)or (Christopher F. Baum)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.