Transporting Causal Effects Across Populations Using Structural Causal Modeling: The Example of Work-From-Home Productivity

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See all articles by Sujin Park

Sujin Park

University of Illinois at Chicago - Department of Information and Decision Sciences

Ali R. Tafti

University of Illinois at Chicago

Galit Shmueli

Institute of Service Science, National Tsing Hua University, Taiwan

Date Written: November 20, 2021

Abstract

Transportability is a structural causal modeling approach aimed at “transporting” a causal effect from a randomized experimental study in one population, to a different population, where only observational data are available. It offers a way to overcome the practical constraints in inferring causal relationships, such as endogeneity concerns in observational data and the infeasibility of replicating certain experiments. While transportability holds significant promise for research and practice, it is seldom implemented in practice, likely due to the lack of practical guidelines for application of transportability theory, or lack of guidance on handling the statistical challenges that might arise. By focusing on a practical problem—estimating the effect of telecommuting on worker productivity—we attempt to bridge the theory-practice gap and delineate some challenges faced when putting transportability theory to practice. In this research note, we offer a detailed procedure for transporting a causal effect across different populations; and we discuss some practical considerations for its implementation, including how to conceptualize causal diagrams.

Keywords: transportability, causal inference, causal diagrams, work-from-home productivity

Suggested Citation

Park, Sujin and Tafti, Ali R. and Shmueli, Galit, Transporting Causal Effects Across Populations Using Structural Causal Modeling: The Example of Work-From-Home Productivity (November 20, 2021). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=

Sujin Park (Contact Author)

University of Illinois at Chicago - Department of Information and Decision Sciences ( email )

University Hall, Room 2432
601 S Morgan St
Chicago, IL 60607-7124
United States

Ali R. Tafti

University of Illinois at Chicago ( email )

601 S Morgan St, 2403 University Hall, MC 294
Chicago, IL 60607
United States

Galit Shmueli

Institute of Service Science, National Tsing Hua University, Taiwan ( email )

Hsinchu, 30013
Taiwan

HOME PAGE: http://www.iss.nthu.edu.tw

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