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Causal Inference Theory with Information Dependency Models

Abstract

Inferring the potential consequences of an unobserved event is a fundamental scientific question. To this end, Pearl's celebrated do-calculus provides a set of inference rules to derive an interventional probability from an observational one. In this framework, the primitive causal relations are encoded as functional dependencies in a Structural Causal Model (SCM), which are generally mapped into a Directed Acyclic Graph (DAG) in the absence of cycles. In this paper, by contrast, we capture causality without reference to graphs or functional dependencies, but with information fields and Witsenhausen's intrinsic model. The three rules of do-calculus reduce to a unique sufficient condition for conditional independence, the topological separation, which presents interesting theoretical and practical advantages over the d-separation. With this unique rule, we can deal with systems that cannot be represented with DAGs, for instance systems with cycles and/or 'spurious' edges. We treat an example that cannot be handled-to the extent of our knowledge-with the tools of the current literature. We also explain why, in the presence of cycles, the theory of causal inference might require different tools, depending on whether the random variables are discrete or continuous.
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Dates and versions

hal-03315815 , version 1 (06-08-2021)
hal-03315815 , version 2 (07-08-2021)

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Benjamin Heymann, Michel de Lara, Jean-Philippe Chancelier. Causal Inference Theory with Information Dependency Models. 2021. ⟨hal-03315815v2⟩
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