Challenges of Using Text Classifiers for Causal Inference

10/01/2018 ∙ by Zach Wood-Doughty, et al. ∙ 0

Causal understanding is essential for many kinds of decision-making, but causal inference from observational data has typically only been applied to structured, low-dimensional datasets. While text classifiers produce low-dimensional outputs, their use in causal inference has not previously been studied. To facilitate causal analyses based on language data, we consider the role that text classifiers can play in causal inference through established modeling mechanisms from the causality literature on missing data and measurement error. We demonstrate how to conduct causal analyses using text classifiers on simulated and Yelp data, and discuss the opportunities and challenges of future work that uses text data in causal inference.

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