Identification and Estimation of Causal Effects Using non-Gaussianity and Auxiliary Covariates

by   Kang Shuai, et al.
Beijing Technology and Business University
Peking University

Assessing causal effects in the presence of unmeasured confounding is a challenging problem. Although auxiliary variables, such as instrumental variables, are commonly used to identify causal effects, they are often unavailable in practice due to stringent and untestable conditions. To address this issue, previous researches have utilized linear structural equation models to show that the causal effect can be identifiable when noise variables of the treatment and outcome are both non-Gaussian. In this paper, we investigate the problem of identifying the causal effect using auxiliary covariates and non-Gaussianity from the treatment. Our key idea is to characterize the impact of unmeasured confounders using an observed covariate, assuming they are all Gaussian. The auxiliary covariate can be an invalid instrument or an invalid proxy variable. We demonstrate that the causal effect can be identified using this measured covariate, even when the only source of non-Gaussianity comes from the treatment. We then extend the identification results to the multi-treatment setting and provide sufficient conditions for identification. Based on our identification results, we propose a simple and efficient procedure for calculating causal effects and show the √(n)-consistency of the proposed estimator. Finally, we evaluate the performance of our estimator through simulation studies and an application.


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