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Which Comes First, Cause or Effect?

Holland, Paul W.
Publication Year:
Report Number:
RR-87-08, PSRTR-87-74
ETS Research Report
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
Experiments, Mathematical Models, Observational Studies, Path Analysis, Research Design, Rubin, Donald B., Statistics


The problem of drawing causal inferences from retrospective, case-control, studies is considered. A model for causal inference in prospective studies is reviewed and then applied to retrospective studies. The limitations of case-control studies are formulated in terms of the level of causally relevant parameters that can be estimated in such studies. An example using data from a large retrospective study of coffee-drinking and myocardial infarctions is used to illustrate the ideas of the paper. (34pp.)

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