Jan 4Liked by scott cunningham

Thanks a lot for this article. I've thought about this problem a lot (I too am allergic to the CI assumption), but I've never read something summarizing my misgivings quite so clearly. One other way I'd put the conditional independence assumption: conditional on X, rational actors don't have any additional information about their own delta, which seems pretty hard to believe.

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I come from a philosophy background, which is also accused of being ‘too rational’. Aristotle found his way out of causal problems by distinguishing between the thing and the thing qua itself and I wonder if that could be helpful?

Is it not just a matter of ensuring you’re plotting tokens with tokens (‘qua’ things) and not plotting types?

For example plotting tokens of ice cream sales (at one time) with tokens of hot weather (at one time) gives you causal inference. Plotting tokens of crimes (at one time) with types of ice cream sales (at different times) does not.

Maybe I have oversimplified, but that’s I suspect what Aristotle would think (admittedly in a pre-econometrics world!)

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Jan 6Liked by scott cunningham

I think there's pretty decent evidence to suggest the assumption is not correct in a lot of domains though, for instance online advertising https://www.kellogg.northwestern.edu/faculty/gordon_b/files/fb_comparison.pdf

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