Student Reflections: Research Seminar with Professor Imbens
On November 6, Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) had the privilege to host a research seminar with Professor Guido Imbens (Stanford University, United States) dedicated to a discussion of his paper “Potential Outcome and Directed Acyclic Graph Approaches to Causality”, which then was commented on by Dr. Lennart Ackermans and Dr. Christopher Clarke of EUR. Professor Imbens is a recent Nobel Prize laureate and member of the Advisory Board of Business Data Science and Tinbergen Institute.
The event addressed crucial questions in our understanding of causal relations. Attention was devoted to the Directed Acyclic Graph approaches which is a workhorse in epidemiology and has been introduced by Professor Judea Pearl (University of California-Los Angeles, United States). Professor Imbens compared this approach to the potential outcomes framework which is popular among economists. In the discussion Dr. Ackermans highlighted the theoretical similarities and differences between the Directed Acyclic Graph approaches and the potential outcomes framework, and Dr. Clarke nicely articulated the reasoning behind including certain controls in the theoretical framework.
In the second week of November, Professor Imbens was guest of honour during the 110th birthday celebration of Erasmus University Rotterdam. On Wednesday, November 8, 2023, he received an honorary doctorate on the recommendation of Erasmus School of Economics.
The Business Data Science community highly appreciated the opportunity to engage in such a fruitful discussion and would like to express its gratitude to Professor Imbens for joining such a memorable event and answering the questions posed during it.
Just: “The seminar was extremely interesting to participate in. Guido Imbens is an excellent researcher, and that showed in his ability to field any and all questions students came up with in a concise and clear manner. It was an experience to remember!”
Lars: “It was a fruitful discussion that stressed the fact that theory makes communication of knowledge more efficient. This, however, comes together with the importance of keeping awareness about the specific study and research question, which require a thorough understanding of the research method and theory used to research them. The work presented by Professor Imbens touched upon one of the core aspects of doing research, which was very insightful.”
Written by Aleksandr Zhuravlev. Photo Guido Imbens: ©Erasmus School of Economics.