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“100 Stories of Causal Inference”: My talk tomorrow at the Online Causal Inference Seminar

Tues 4 Aug, 11:30am on zoom:

100 Stories of Causal Inference

In social science we learn from stories. The best stories are anomalous and immutable. We shall briefly discuss the theory of stories, the paradoxical nature of how we learn from them, and how this relates to forward and reverse causal inference. Then we will go through some stories of applied causal inference and see what lessons we can draw from them. We hope this talk will be useful as a model for how you can better learn from your own experiences as participants and consumers of causal inference.

P.S. Here it is.


  1. Joshua says:

    Maybe you’ll talk about ev-psych causal stories? Or how the elephant got his trunk – which is pretty much the same thing? 😊

  2. Moses says:

    From you, this sounds great, little be it for me to put in another request and promote a ball rolling. It may be a dreamed of, I was looking for your take on the contribution of randomized control trials, I thought I saw it, I thought you might have had lines on, taken us no further than the work that can be done by well designed observational studies, it is probably a dream of, Thanks, Best wishes with this,

  3. I look forward to listening to your talk. CLEARLY it will be fascinating. lol just wanting to raise Sander Greenland’s BS meter a tad. Smile.

  4. zbicyclist says:

    I’m listening to this now.

    I think the term “story” is confusing terminology, because when I think of story I think of fiction, e.g. “just-so stories” or fictional short stories. But you are using stories to refer to things that are true.

    To me, a better term would be “incident”. This, of course, has the great literary reference from Arthur Conan Doyle, which gets to your notion that a story is anomalous:

    Gregory (Scotland Yard detective): Is there any other point to which you would wish to draw my attention?
    Holmes: To the curious incident of the dog in the night-time.
    Gregory: The dog did nothing in the night-time.
    Holmes: That was the curious incident.

    • Well I understood what Andrew meant by’story’. I suppose ‘narration’ may be apt.

      Andrew thanks for the spirited talk. You may like reading

      Analogies of War. The author makes the case for interrogating stories in the context of foreign policy decision-making.

      I had continued to argue that the stories that circulated in academic circles were pivotal in shaping foreign policies, although the economic goals and objectives of a nation also were integral to policy development.

      In the 50s through the 70s, the major themes enshrined in international organizations were culled through stories/accounts of people being persecuted, killed or exiled on ideological and scientific grounds. This was certainly the case at some Ivy League universities. I would hear these stories at lunches & conferences to which I tagged along with my Dad, as a girl. And why I was relieved to find supporting arguments in Analogies At War. It is a masterful analysis.


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