The Landscape of Causal Inference: Perspective from Citation Network Analysis

2017-08-01T14:44:21Z (GMT) by Weihua An Ying Ding
<p>Causal inference is a fast-growing multidisciplinary field that has drawn extensive interests from statistical sciences and health and social sciences. In this paper, we gather comprehensive information on publications and citations in causal inference and provide a review of the field from the perspective of citation network analysis. We provide descriptive analyses by showing the most cited publications, the most prolific and the most cited authors, and structural properties of the citation network. Then we examine the citation network through exponential random graph models (ERGMs). We show that both technical aspects of the publications (e.g., publication length, time and quality) and social processes such as homophily (the tendency to cite publications in the same field or with shared authors), cumulative advantage, and transitivity (the tendency to cite references' references), matter for citations. We also provide specific analysis of citations among the top authors in the field and present a ranking and clustering of the authors. Overall, our paper reveals new insights into the landscape of the field of causal inference and may serve as a case study for analyzing citation networks in a multidisciplinary field and for fitting ERGMs on big networks.</p>