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Statistical Models and Causal Inference by Jasjeet S. Sekhon, David Collier, David A. Freedman

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14The Grand LeapWith Paul Humphreys

            “The grand leap of the whale up the Fall of Niagara is esteemed, by all who have seen it, as one of the finest spectacles in Nature.”

—Benjamin Franklin

        ABSTRACT. A number of algorithms purport to discover causal structure from empirical data with no need for specific subject-matter knowledge. Advocates claim that the algorithms are superior to methods already used in the social sciences (regression analysis, path models, factor analysis, hierarchical linear models, and so on). But they have no real success stories to report. The algorithms are computationally impressive and the associated mathematical theory may be of some interest. However, the problem solved is quite removed from the ...

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