Context-Specific Causal Discovery for Categorical Data Using Staged Trees

Manuele Leonelli, Gherardo Varando

Causal discovery algorithms aims at untangling complex causal relationships using observational data only. Here, we introduce new causal discovery algorithms based on staged tree models, which can represent complex and non-symmetric causal effects. To demonstrate the efficacy of our algorithms, we introduce a new distance, inspired by the widely used structural interventional distance, to quantify the closeness between two staged trees in terms of their corresponding causal inference statements. A simulation study highlights the efficacy of staged trees in uncovering complex, asymmetric causal relationship from data and a real-world data application illustrates their use in a practical causal analysis.

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