Tyler J. VanderWeele

Tyler J. VanderWeele
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Tyler J. VanderWeele

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Statistics - Methodology (7)
Statistics - Theory (6)
Mathematics - Statistics (6)
Statistics - Applications (5)
Computer Science - Artificial Intelligence (2)
Quantum Physics (1)
Physics - Physics and Society (1)
Physics - History of Physics (1)

Publications Authored By Tyler J. VanderWeele

There has been considerable interest in using decomposition methods in epidemiology (mediation analysis) and economics (Oaxaca-Blinder decomposition) to understand how health disparities arise and how they might change upon intervention. It has not been clear when estimates from the Oaxaca-Blinder decomposition can be interpreted causally because its implementation does not explicitly address potential confounding of target variables. While mediation analysis does explicitly adjust for confounders of target variables, it does so in a way that entails equalizing confounders across racial groups, which may not reflect the intended intervention. Read More

Drawing causal inference with observational studies is the central pillar of many disciplines. One sufficient condition for identifying the causal effect is that the treatment-outcome relationship is unconfounded conditional on the observed covariates. It is often believed that the more covariates we condition on, the more plausible this unconfoundedness assumption is. Read More

It is often of interest to decompose a total effect of an exposure into the component that acts on the outcome through some mediator and the component that acts independently through other pathways. Said another way, we are interested in the direct and indirect effects of the exposure on the outcome. Even if the exposure is randomly assigned, it is often infeasible to randomize the mediator, leaving the mediator-outcome confounding not fully controlled. Read More

If an effect measure is more homogeneous than others, then its value is more likely to be stable across different subgroups or subpopulations. Therefore, it is of great importance to find a more homogeneous effect measure that allows for transportability of research results. For a binary outcome, applied researchers often claim that the risk difference is more heterogeneous than the risk ratio or odds ratio, because they find, based on evidence from surveys of meta-analyses, that the null hypotheses of homogeneity are rejected more often for the risk difference than for the risk ratio and odds ratio. Read More

Unmeasured confounding may undermine the validity of causal inference with observational studies. Sensitivity analysis provides an attractive way to partially circumvent this issue by assessing the potential influence of unmeasured confounding on the causal conclusions. However, previous sensitivity analysis approaches often make strong and untestable assumptions such as having a confounder that is binary, or having no interaction between the effects of the exposure and the confounder on the outcome, or having only one confounder. Read More

Causal inference with interference is a rapidly growing area. The literature has begun to relax the "no-interference" assumption that the treatment received by one individual does not affect the outcomes of other individuals. In this paper we briefly review the literature on causal inference in the presence of interference when treatments have been randomized. Read More

A central question in causal inference with observational studies is the sensitivity of conclusions to unmeasured confounding. The classical Cornfield condition allows us to assess whether an unmeasured binary confounder can explain away the observed relative risk of the exposure on the outcome. It states that for an unmeasured confounder to explain away an observed relative risk, the association between the unmeasured confounder and the exposure, and also that between the unmeasured confounder and the outcome, must both be larger than the observed relative risk. Read More

Genetic association studies have been a popular approach for assessing the association between common Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNPs) and complex diseases. However, other genomic data involved in the mechanism from SNPs to disease, for example, gene expressions, are usually neglected in these association studies. In this paper, we propose to exploit gene expression information to more powerfully test the association between SNPs and diseases by jointly modeling the relations among SNPs, gene expressions and diseases. Read More

The term "interference" has been used to describe any setting in which one subject's exposure may affect another subject's outcome. We use causal diagrams to distinguish among three causal mechanisms that give rise to interference. The first causal mechanism by which interference can operate is a direct causal effect of one individual's treatment on another individual's outcome; we call this direct interference. Read More

Consider the causal effect that one individual's treatment may have on another individual's outcome when the outcome is contagious, with specific application to the effect of vaccination on an infectious disease outcome. The effect of one individual's vaccination on another's outcome can be decomposed into two different causal effects, called the "infectiousness" and "contagion" effects. We present identifying assumptions and estimation or testing procedures for infectiousness and contagion effects in two different settings: (1) using data sampled from independent groups of observations, and (2) using data collected from a single interdependent social network. Read More

The causal inference literature has provided a clear formal definition of confounding expressed in terms of counterfactual independence. The literature has not, however, come to any consensus on a formal definition of a confounder, as it has given priority to the concept of confounding over that of a confounder. We consider a number of candidate definitions arising from various more informal statements made in the literature. Read More

The sufficient-component cause framework assumes the existence of sets of sufficient causes that bring about an event. For a binary outcome and an arbitrary number of binary causes any set of potential outcomes can be replicated by positing a set of sufficient causes; typically this representation is not unique. A sufficient cause interaction is said to be present if within all representations there exists a sufficient cause in which two or more particular causes are all present. Read More

We give a simple proof of Bell's inequality in quantum mechanics which, in conjunction with experiments, demonstrates that the local hidden variables assumption is false. The proof sheds light on relationships between the notion of causal interaction and interference between particles. Read More

Identifying effects of actions (treatments) on outcome variables from observational data and causal assumptions is a fundamental problem in causal inference. This identification is made difficult by the presence of confounders which can be related to both treatment and outcome variables. Confounders are often handled, both in theory and in practice, by adjusting for covariates, in other words considering outcomes conditioned on treatment and covariate values, weighed by probability of observing those covariate values. Read More

Notions of minimal sufficient causation are incorporated within the directed acyclic graph causal framework. Doing so allows for the graphical representation of sufficient causes and minimal sufficient causes on causal directed acyclic graphs while maintaining all of the properties of causal directed acyclic graphs. This in turn provides a clear theoretical link between two major conceptualizations of causality: one counterfactual-based and the other based on a more mechanistic understanding of causation. Read More