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A class of algorithms for general instrumental variable models

Kilbertus, N; Kusner, M; Silva, R; (2020) A class of algorithms for general instrumental variable models. In: Proceedings of the Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems (NeurIPS 2020). Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems (NeurIPS 2020): Virtual conference. Green open access

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Abstract

Causal treatment effect estimation is a key problem that arises in a variety of real-world settings, from personalized medicine to governmental policy making. There has been a flurry of recent work in machine learning on estimating causal effects when one has access to an instrument. However, to achieve identifiability, they in general require one-size-fits-all assumptions such as an additive error model for the outcome. An alternative is partial identification, which provides bounds on the causal effect. Little exists in terms of bounding methods that can deal with the most general case, where the treatment itself can be continuous. Moreover, bounding methods generally do not allow for a continuum of assumptions on the shape of the causal effect that can smoothly trade off stronger background knowledge for more informative bounds. In this work, we provide a method for causal effect bounding in continuous distributions, leveraging recent advances in gradient-based methods for the optimization of computationally intractable objective functions. We demonstrate on a set of synthetic and real-world data that our bounds capture the causal effect when additive methods fail, providing a useful range of answers compatible with observation as opposed to relying on unwarranted structural assumptions.

Type: Proceedings paper
Title: A class of algorithms for general instrumental variable models
Event: Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems (NeurIPS 2020)
Location: online
Dates: 06 December 2020 - 12 December 2020
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Publisher version: https://nips.cc/
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the version of record. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher's terms and conditions.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science > Dept of Computer Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences > Dept of Statistical Science
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10110918
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