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On Granger-causality and the effect of interventions in time series

  • Eichler Michael
  • Didelez Vanessa

    (METEOR)

We combine two approaches to causal reasoning. Granger-causality, on the one hand, is popular in fields like econometrics, where randomised experiments are not very common. Instead information about the dynamic development of a system is explicitly modelled and used to define potentially causal relations. On the other hand, the notion of causality as effect of interventions is predominant in fields like medical statistics or computer science. In this paper, we consider the effect of external, possibly multiple and sequential, interventions in a system of multivariate time series, the Granger-causal structure of which is taken to be known. We address the following questions: under what assumptions about the system and the interventions does Granger-causality inform us about the effectiveness of interventions, and when does the possibly smaller system of observable times series allow us to estimate this effect? For the latter we derive criteria that can be checked graphica lly and are in the same spirit as Pearl''s back-door and front-door criteria (Pearl 1995).

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Paper provided by Maastricht University, Maastricht Research School of Economics of Technology and Organization (METEOR) in its series Research Memorandum with number 003.

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Date of creation: 2009
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Handle: RePEc:unm:umamet:2009003
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  1. Vanessa Didelez, 2008. "Graphical models for marked point processes based on local independence," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series B, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 70(1), pages 245-264.
  2. Granger, C. W. J., 1980. "Testing for causality : A personal viewpoint," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 2(1), pages 329-352, May.
  3. Florens, J P & Mouchart, M, 1982. "A Note on Noncausality," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(3), pages 583-91, May.
  4. Eichler, Michael, 2007. "Granger causality and path diagrams for multivariate time series," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 137(2), pages 334-353, April.
  5. Odd O. Aalen & Arnoldo Frigessi, 2007. "What can Statistics Contribute to a Causal Understanding?," Scandinavian Journal of Statistics, Danish Society for Theoretical Statistics;Finnish Statistical Society;Norwegian Statistical Association;Swedish Statistical Association, vol. 34(1), pages 155-168.
  6. Granger, C W J, 1969. "Investigating Causal Relations by Econometric Models and Cross-Spectral Methods," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 37(3), pages 424-38, July.
  7. Florens, Jean-Pierre & Fougere, Denis, 1996. "Noncausality in Continuous Time," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 64(5), pages 1195-1212, September.
  8. Thomas Richardson, 2003. "Markov Properties for Acyclic Directed Mixed Graphs," Scandinavian Journal of Statistics, Danish Society for Theoretical Statistics;Finnish Statistical Society;Norwegian Statistical Association;Swedish Statistical Association, vol. 30(1), pages 145-157.
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