Critical Evidence for Proving Causality (i.e., Causation) to Non-Statisticians in Court

16 Pages Posted: 15 May 2008 Last revised: 2 Feb 2017

See all articles by Palmer Morrel-Samuels

Palmer Morrel-Samuels

Employee Motivation and Performance Assessment; University of Michigan at Ann Arbor - School of Public Health

Peter D. Jacobson

University of Michigan School of Public Health

Cristina G. Banks

University of California, Berkeley

Date Written: May 15, 2008

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

Morrel-Samuels, Palmer and Jacobson, Peter D. and Banks, Cristina G., Critical Evidence for Proving Causality (i.e., Causation) to Non-Statisticians in Court (May 15, 2008). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1133516 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1133516

Palmer Morrel-Samuels (Contact Author)

Employee Motivation and Performance Assessment ( email )

210 Park St.
Chelsea, MI 48118
United States
734-368-3348 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://SurveysForBusiness.com

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor - School of Public Health ( email )

1415 Washington Heights
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2029
United States
734-368-3348 (Phone)

Peter D. Jacobson

University of Michigan School of Public Health ( email )

109 Observatory
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2029
United States
734-936-0928 (Phone)
734-764-4338 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.sph.umich.edu/~pdj/

Cristina G. Banks

University of California, Berkeley ( email )

310 Barrows Hall
Berkeley, CA 94720
United States

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