Critical Evidence for Proving Causality (i.e., Causation) to Non-Statisticians in Court
16 Pages Posted: 15 May 2008 Last revised: 2 Feb 2017
Date Written: May 15, 2008
No contemporary guide exists for using statistics to prove causality in court. We outline a new theory explaining comprehension of causal graphs, and claim four hallmarks of causality are critical: Association, Prediction, Exclusion of Alternative Explanations, and Dose Dependence. We test our theory in 63 smoking lawsuits, finding that movants who use all four hallmarks are significantly more likely to prevail (p <.05); moreover, number of hallmarks predicts likelihood of prevailing. Results also suggest courts are especially swayed by evidence excluding alternative explanations and/or demonstrating dose dependence (p < .00001). We close with guidelines for using causal graphs in court.
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