Counterfactual Reasoning in Linear Structural Equation Models

by   Zhihong Cai, et al.

Consider the case where causal relations among variables can be described as a Gaussian linear structural equation model. This paper deals with the problem of clarifying how the variance of a response variable would have changed if a treatment variable were assigned to some value (counterfactually), given that a set of variables is observed (actually). In order to achieve this aim, we reformulate the formulas of the counterfactual distribution proposed by Balke and Pearl (1995) through both the total effects and a covariance matrix of observed variables. We further extend the framework of Balke and Pearl (1995) from point observations to interval observations, and from an unconditional plan to a conditional plan. The results of this paper enable us to clarify the properties of counterfactual distribution and establish an optimal plan.


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