This investigation into causal modelling presents the rationale of causality, i.e. the notion that guides causal reasoning in causal modelling. It is argued that causal models are regimented by a rationale of variation, nor of regularity neither invariance, thus breaking down the dominant Human paradigm. The notion of variation is shown to be embedded in the scheme of reasoning behind various causal models: e.g. Rubin’s model, contingency tables, and multilevel analysis. It is also shown to be latent – yet fundamental – in many philosophical accounts. Moreover, it has significant consequences for methodological issues: the warranty of the causal interpretation of causal models, the levels of causation, the characterisation of mechanisms, and the interpretation of probability.
This book offers a novel philosophical and methodological approach to causal reasoning in causal modelling and provides the reader with the tools to be up to date about various issues causality rises in social science.
"Dr. Federica Russo's book is a very valuable addition to a small number of relevant publications on causality and causal modelling in the social sciences viewed from a philosophical approach". (Prof. Guillaume Wunsch, Institute of Demography, University of Louvain, Belgium)
In population studies, most research is based on non-experimental designs (observational or survey designs) and rarely on quasi experiments or natural experiments. Using non-experimental designs to infer causal relationships—i.e. relationships that can ultimately inform policies or interventions—is a complex undertaking. Specifically, treatment effects can be inferred from non-experimental data with a counterfactual approach. In this counterfactual perspective, causal effects are defined as the difference between the potential outcome irrespective of whether or not an individual had received a certain treatment (or experienced a certain cause). The counterfactual approach to estimate effects of causes from quasi-experimental data or from observational studies was first proposed by Rubin in 1974 and further developed by James Heckman and others.
This book presents both theoretical contributions and empirical applications of the counterfactual approach to causal inference.
The example of a survey of children where the statistician only has a list of adult persons is a typical case. In this case, the statistician first draws a sample of adults, and for each selected adult, the statistician then identifies his/her children. The survey is done from the latter. This is what is called indirect sampling.
When indirect sampling is used jointly with the sampling of clusters of persons (families, for example), many complications arise for the survey statistician. One of the complications relates to the computation of the estimates from the survey. The production of estimates of simple totals or means can then become nightmares for the survey statistician. To solve this problem, the author proposes a simple solution, easy to implement, that is called the generalised weight share method.
This book is the reference on indirect sampling and the generalised weight share method. It contains the different developments done by the author on these subjects. The theory surrounding them is presented, but also different possible applications that drive its interest. The reader will find in this book the answer to questions that come, inevitably, when working in a context of indirect sampling.
At the micro level, the exchanges between generations are presented and discussed in detail: how they have evolved in the recent past in terms of time, money, co-residence and proximity, and what will likely happen next. The geographical scope is on the developed countries, plus South Korea.
A rich documentation of tables and graphs supports the scientific analyses and the policy implications in each of the nine chapters of this book, where demography, sociology, and economics intersect fruitfully, both at the macro and at the micro level.