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In-Person Poster presentation / poster accept

Estimating individual treatment effects under unobserved confounding using binary instruments

Dennis Frauen · Stefan Feuerriegel

MH1-2-3-4 #125

Keywords: [ Probabilistic Methods ] [ instrumental variables ] [ Causal machine learning ] [ treatment effect estimation ]


Estimating conditional average treatment effects (CATEs) from observational data is relevant in many fields such as personalized medicine. However, in practice, the treatment assignment is usually confounded by unobserved variables and thus introduces bias. A remedy to remove the bias is the use of instrumental variables (IVs). Such settings are widespread in medicine (e.g., trials where the treatment assignment is used as binary IV). In this paper, we propose a novel, multiply robust machine learning framework, called MRIV, for estimating CATEs using binary IVs and thus yield an unbiased CATE estimator. Different from previous work for binary IVs, our framework estimates the CATE directly via a pseudo-outcome regression. (1)~We provide a theoretical analysis where we show that our framework yields multiple robust convergence rates: our CATE estimator achieves fast convergence even if several nuisance estimators converge slowly. (2)~We further show that our framework asymptotically outperforms state-of-the-art plug-in IV methods for CATE estimation, in the sense that it achieves a faster rate of convergence if the CATE is smoother than the individual outcome surfaces. (3)~We build upon our theoretical results and propose a tailored deep neural network architecture called MRIV-Net for CATE estimation using binary IVs. Across various computational experiments, we demonstrate empirically that our MRIV-Net achieves state-of-the-art performance. To the best of our knowledge, our MRIV is the first multiply robust machine learning framework tailored to estimating CATEs in the binary IV setting.

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