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Causality, mediation and time: a dynamic viewpoint


Aalen, Odd O; Røysland, Kjetil; Gran, Jon Michael; Ledergerber, Bruno (2012). Causality, mediation and time: a dynamic viewpoint. Journal of the Royal Statistical Society: Series A, 175(4):831-861.

Abstract

Summary. Time dynamics are often ignored in causal modelling. Clearly, causality must operate in time and we show how this corresponds to a mechanistic, or system, understanding of causality. The established counterfactual definitions of direct and indirect effects depend on an ability to manipulate the mediator which may not hold in practice, and we argue that a mechanistic view may be better. Graphical representations based on local independence graphs and dynamic path analysis are used to facilitate communication as well as providing an overview of the dynamic relations 'at a glance'. The relationship between causality as understood in a mechanistic and in an interventionist sense is discussed. An example using data from the Swiss HIV Cohort Study is presented.

Abstract

Summary. Time dynamics are often ignored in causal modelling. Clearly, causality must operate in time and we show how this corresponds to a mechanistic, or system, understanding of causality. The established counterfactual definitions of direct and indirect effects depend on an ability to manipulate the mediator which may not hold in practice, and we argue that a mechanistic view may be better. Graphical representations based on local independence graphs and dynamic path analysis are used to facilitate communication as well as providing an overview of the dynamic relations 'at a glance'. The relationship between causality as understood in a mechanistic and in an interventionist sense is discussed. An example using data from the Swiss HIV Cohort Study is presented.

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21 citations in Web of Science®
23 citations in Scopus®
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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > University Hospital Zurich > Clinic for Infectious Diseases
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:2012
Deposited On:23 Jan 2013 15:46
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 16:22
Publisher:Wiley-Blackwell
ISSN:0964-1998
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-985X.2011.01030.x
PubMed ID:23193356

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