Defining Causality

STAT 20: Introduction to Probability and Statistics


  • Concept Questions
  • Lab 6.1

Concept Questions

Suppose that a prisoner is about to be executed by a firing squad. A certain chain of events must occur for this to happen. First, the judge orders the execution. The order goes to a captain, who signals the two soldiers of the firing squad (soldier 1 and soldier 2) to fire. They are obedient and expert marksmen, so they only fire on command, and if either one of them shoots, the prisoner dies.

Using the conditional counterfactual definition, who caused the death of the prisoner?

A. The judge
B. The captain
C. Soldier 1
D. Soldier 2


In the next slide, you will see the first few rows of a dataset containing demographic information on California counties. Scroll to see all of the rows.

We are interested in determining whether a difference in median_edu has a causal effect on homeownership. With this in mind, which county serves as the best counterfactual match to Fresno County?

  1. Kern County
  2. Marin County
  3. Contra Costa County
  4. Shasta County
  5. Del Norte County

name homeownership median_edu metro smoking_ban
Fresno County 55.0 some_college yes none
Colusa County 64.4 hs_diploma no none
Del Norte County 60.9 hs_diploma no none
Alameda County 55.1 some_college yes none
Contra Costa County 69.5 some_college yes partial
Glenn County 67.5 hs_diploma no none
Shasta County 66.0 some_college yes none
Kern County 61.4 hs_diploma yes none
San Luis Obispo County 61.4 some_college yes none
Marin County 64.0 bachelors yes partial