Leveraging Causal Graphs for Blocking in Randomized Experiments
Leveraging Causal Graphs for Blocking in Randomized Experiments

Leveraging Causal Graphs for Blocking in Randomized Experiments

Abstract

Randomized experiments are often performed to study the causal effects of interest. Blocking is a technique to precisely estimate the causal effects when the experimental material is not homogeneous. It involves stratifying the available experimental material based on the covariates causing non-homogeneity and then randomizing the treatment within those strata (known as blocks). This eliminates the unwanted effect of the covariates on the causal effects of interest. We investigate the problem of finding a stable set of covariates to be used to form blocks, that minimizes the variance of the causal effect estimates. Using the underlying causal graph, we provide an algorithm to obtain such a set for a general semi-Markovian causal model.

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