s-ID: Causal Effect Identification in a Sub-Population

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Amir Mohammad Abouei, Ehsan Mokhtarian, Negar Kiyavash


Causal inference in a sub-population involves identifying the causal effect of an intervention on a specific subgroup within a larger population. However, ignoring the subtleties introduced by sub-populations can either lead to erroneous inference or limit the applicability of existing methods. We introduce and advocate for a causal inference problem in sub-populations (henceforth called s-ID), in which we merely have access to observational data of the targeted sub-population (as opposed to the entire population). Existing inference problems in sub-populations operate on the premise that the given data distributions originate from the entire population, thus, cannot tackle the s-ID problem. To address this gap, we provide necessary and sufficient conditions that must hold in the causal graph for a causal effect in a sub-population to be identifiable from the observational distribution of that sub-population. Given these conditions, we present a sound and complete algorithm for the s-ID problem.

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