JSM 2011 Online Program

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Abstract Details

Activity Number: 214
Type: Invited
Date/Time: Monday, August 1, 2011 : 2:00 PM to 3:50 PM
Sponsor: Section on Statistics in Epidemiology
Abstract - #300144
Title: External Validity and Transportability: A Formal Approach
Author(s): Judea Pearl*+ and Elias Bareinboim
Companies: University of California at Los Angeles and University of California at Los Angeles
Address: , , ,
Keywords: external validity ; generalizability ; causal inference ; surrogate endpoint ; meta-analysis

We provide a formal definition of the notion of ``transportability,' or ``external validity,' as a license to transfer causal information from experimental studies to a different population in which only observational studies can be conducted. We introduce a formal representation called ``selection diagrams' for expressing differences and commonalities between populations of interest and, using this representation, we derive procedures for deciding whether causal effects in the target population can be inferred from experimental findings in a different population. When the answer is affirmative, the procedures identify the set of experimental and observational studies that need be conducted to license the transport. We further discuss how transportability analysis can guide the transfer of knowledge in non-experimental learning to minimize re-measurement cost and improve prediction power.

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