Deep End-to-end Causal Inference

MSR-TR-2022-1 |

Published by Microsoft

Causal inference is essential for data-driven decision making across domains such as business engagement, medical treatment or policy making. However, research on causal discovery and inference has evolved separately, and the combination of the two domains is not trivial. In this work, we develop Deep End-to-end Causal Inference (DECI), a single flow-based method that takes in observational data and can perform both causal discovery and inference, including conditional average treatment effect (CATE) estimation. We provide a theoretical guarantee that DECI can recover the ground truth causal graph under mild assumptions. In addition, our method can handle heterogeneous, real-world, mixed-type data with missing values, allowing for both continuous and discrete treatment decisions. Moreover, the design principle of our method can generalize beyond DECI, providing a general End-to-end Causal Inference (ECI) recipe, which enables different ECI frameworks to be built using existing methods. Our results show the superior performance of DECI when compared to relevant baselines for both causal discovery and (C)ATE estimation in over a thousand experiments on both synthetic datasets and other causal machine learning benchmark datasets.