Northwestern Events Calendar


Statistics Seminar Series (joint with Biostatistics): Maria Cuellar “A statistical method for estimating (specific) causation in the law”

When: Wednesday, May 19, 2021
11:00 AM - 12:00 PM Central

Where: Online

Audience: Faculty/Staff - Student - Post Docs/Docs - Graduate Students

Contact: Kisa Kowal   (847) 491-3974

Group: Department of Statistics

Category: Academic, Lectures & Meetings


Department of Statistics 2020-2021 Seminar Series (joint with Biostatistics) - Spring 2021

“A statistical method for estimating (specific) causation in the law”

Maria Cuellar, Assistant Professor, Criminology Department, University of Pennsylvania

Researchers often need to determine whether a specific exposure, or something else, caused an individual's outcome. To answer questions of causality in which the exposure and outcome have already been observed, researchers have suggested estimating the probability of causation (PC). PC is especially important in court, for example in class action lawsuits, and in public and health policy, for example in determining who has benefited most from a program. However, the current estimation methods for PC make strong parametric assumptions, or are inefficient and do not easily yield inferential tools. In this talk, I will describe an influence-function-based nonparametric estimator for a projection of PC, which allows for simple interpretation and valid inference by making only weak structural assumptions. I compare my proposed estimator to the current plug-in methods, both parametric and nonparametric, by simulation. Finally, I present an application of the proposed estimator by using data from a randomized controlled trial in Western Kenya.

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