Direct and Indirect Effects
The direct effect of one eventon another can be defined and measured byholding constant all intermediate variables between the two.Indirect effects present conceptual andpractical difficulties (in nonlinear models), because they cannot be isolated by holding certain variablesconstant. This paper shows a way of defining any path-specific effectthat does not invoke blocking the remainingpaths.This permits the assessment of a more naturaltype of direct and indirect effects, one thatis applicable in both linear and nonlinear models. The paper establishesconditions under which such assessments can be estimated consistentlyfrom experimental and nonexperimental data,and thus extends path-analytic techniques tononlinear and nonparametric models.
PDF Link: /papers/01/p411-pearl.pdf
AUTHOR = "Judea Pearl
TITLE = "Direct and Indirect Effects",
BOOKTITLE = "Proceedings of the Seventeenth Conference Annual Conference on Uncertainty in Artificial Intelligence (UAI-01)",
PUBLISHER = "Morgan Kaufmann",
ADDRESS = "San Francisco, CA",
YEAR = "2001",
PAGES = "411--420"