Applied Stats Workshop (Gov 3009)


Wednesday, April 26, 2017, 12:00pm to 1:30pm


CGIS Knafel K354

The Applied Statistics Workshop (Gov 3009) meets all academic year, Wednesdays, 12pm-1:30pm, in CGIS K354. This workshop is a forum for advanced graduate students, faculty, and visiting scholars to present and discuss methodological or empirical work in progress in an interdisciplinary setting. The workshop features a tour of Harvard's statistical innovations and applications with weekly stops in different fields and disciplines and includes occasional presentations by invited speakers.  Free lunch is provided.


Marc Ratkovic  and Dustin Tingley present.


Title: Causal Inference through the Method of Direct Estimation

Abstract: The intersection of causal inference and machine learning is a rapidly advancing field. We propose a new approach, the method of direct estimation, that draws on both traditions in order to obtain nonparametric estimates of treatment effects. The approach focuses on estimating the effect of fluctuations in a treatment variable on an outcome. A tensor-spline implementation enables rich interactions between functional bases allowing for the approach to capture treatment/covariate interactions. We show how new innovations in Bayesian sparse modeling readily handle the proposed framework, and then document its performance in simulation and applied examples. Furthermore we show how the method of direct estimation can easily extend to structural estimators commonly used in a variety of disciplines, like instrumental variables, mediation analysis, and sequential g-estimation.

Link to paper: