Path-specific Effects Based on Information Accounts of Causality

Heyang Gong, Ke Zhu

Path-specific effects in mediation analysis provide a useful tool for fairness analysis, which is mostly based on nested counterfactuals. However, the dictum ``no causation without manipulation'' implies that path-specific effects might be induced by certain interventions. This paper proposes a new path intervention inspired by information accounts of causality, and develops the corresponding intervention diagrams and $\pi$-formula. Compared with the interventionist approach of Robins et al.(2020) based on nested counterfactuals, our proposed path intervention method explicitly describes the manipulation in structural causal model with a simple information transferring interpretation, and does not require the non-existence of recanting witness to identify path-specific effects. Hence, it could serve useful communications and theoretical focus for mediation analysis.

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