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Kaufman, Jay S. & Kaufman, Sol (2002). Commentary: Estimating Causal Effects. International Journal of Epidemiology, 31(2), 431-432.


Maldonado and Greenland have provided a great service to our field in crafting this broadly accessible and eminently readable review of causal principles in epidemiological research.1 Attention to these issues yields substantial benefits in study design, analysis, and interpretation, and this new elucidation promises to raise the quality of epidemiological thought and practice widely by introducing the concepts to a new generation of researchers, and clarifying them further for the rest of us. Indeed, it is fitting that this review should appear in this journal, as Greenland and Robins' seminal article on this topic appeared in 1986 in these very pages.2 The authors have achieved an admirable level of clarity and simplicity in their presentation. Some of the devices for obtaining this conceptual simplicity, however, succeed at the risk of obscuring other important issues, and we comment on a few of these below. This is not to suggest that an alternative presentation may have been preferred, but rather merely to briefly explore a few of the many questions that are understandably avoided in the paper.



Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

International Journal of Epidemiology


Kaufman, Jay S.
Kaufman, Sol