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Tests for Causality

Sackett et al in Clinical Epidemiology described 9 criteria to decide if something is caused by something else.

  • Is there experimental evidence from human studies?
  • Is the association strong?
  • Is the association consistent from study to study?
  • Is the temporal relationship correct?
  • Is there a dose-response relationship?
  • Does the association make epidemiological sense?
  • Does the association make biological sense?
  • Is the association specific?
  • Is the association analogous to a previously proven causal association?

These correspond to Bradford Hill's Criteria of Causality (1937)

Kenneth Rothman wrote a short critique of these criteria in chapter 2 of Epidemiology: An introduction, and a slightly longer critique in chapter 2 of Modern Epidemiology (2 edn).