Sufficient Dimension Reduction for Average Causal Effect Estimation

14 Sep 2020  ·  Debo Cheng, Jiuyong Li, Lin Liu, Jixue Liu ·

Having a large number of covariates can have a negative impact on the quality of causal effect estimation since confounding adjustment becomes unreliable when the number of covariates is large relative to the samples available. Propensity score is a common way to deal with a large covariate set, but the accuracy of propensity score estimation (normally done by logistic regression) is also challenged by large number of covariates. In this paper, we prove that a large covariate set can be reduced to a lower dimensional representation which captures the complete information for adjustment in causal effect estimation. The theoretical result enables effective data-driven algorithms for causal effect estimation. We develop an algorithm which employs a supervised kernel dimension reduction method to search for a lower dimensional representation for the original covariates, and then utilizes nearest neighbor matching in the reduced covariate space to impute the counterfactual outcomes to avoid large-sized covariate set problem. The proposed algorithm is evaluated on two semi-synthetic and three real-world datasets and the results have demonstrated the effectiveness of the algorithm.

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