Doubly-Valid/Doubly-Sharp Sensitivity Analysis for Causal Inference with Unmeasured Confounding

Abstract

We consider the problem of constructing bounds on the average treatment effect (ATE) when unmeasured confounders exist but have bounded influence. Specifically, we assume that omitted confounders could not change the odds of treatment for any unit by more than a fixed factor. We derive the sharp partial identification bounds implied by this assumption by leveraging distributionally robust optimization, and we propose estimators of these bounds with several novel robustness properties. The first is double sharpness: our estimators consistently estimate the sharp ATE bounds when one of two nuisance parameters is misspecified and achieve semiparametric efficiency when all nuisance parameters are suitably consistent. The second is double validity: even when most nuisance parameters are misspecified, our estimators still provide valid but possibly conservative bounds for the ATE and our Wald confidence intervals remain valid even when our estimators are not asymptotically normal. As a result, our estimators provide a highly credible method for sensitivity analysis of causal inferences.

Jacob Dorn
Jacob Dorn
PhD candidate in Economics

Jacob Dorn is an economics PhD candidate at Princeton University with interests in the industrial organization of health markets and econometrics. He has accepted a position as Assistant Professor in the Department of Economics at Cornell University.

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