Spring 2022

Causal Inference With Corrupted Data: Measurement Error, Missing Values, Discretization, And Differential Privacy

Friday, Feb. 11, 2022 11:40 am11:50 am PST

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Calvin Lab Auditorium

Even the most carefully curated economic data sets have variables that are noisy, missing, discretized, or privatized. The standard workflow for empirical research involves data cleaning followed by data analysis that typically ignores the bias and variance consequences of data cleaning. We formulate a semiparametric model for causal inference with corrupted data to encompass both data cleaning and data analysis. We propose a new end-to-end procedure for data cleaning, estimation, and inference with data cleaning-adjusted confidence intervals. We prove consistency, Gaussian approximation, and semiparametric efficiency for our estimator of the causal parameter by finite sample arguments. The rate of Gaussian approximation is $n^{-1/2}$ for global parameters such as average treatment effect, and it degrades gracefully for local parameters such as heterogeneous treatment effect for a specific demographic. Our key assumption is that the true covariates are approximately low rank. In our analysis, we provide nonasymptotic theoretical contributions to matrix completion, statistical learning, and semiparametric statistics. We verify the coverage of the data cleaning-adjusted confidence intervals in simulations calibrated to resemble differential privacy as implemented in the 2020 US Census.