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VOLUME 46 | NUMBER 2 | APRIL 2011


Commentary on Bryan Dowd's Paper "Separated at Birth: Statisticians, Social Scientists, and Causality in Health Services Research"

This issue of the journal contains a very insightful and informative paper by Bryan Dowd. Although health services research is a relatively new field, there are valuable lessons to be learned from an historical review of critical junctures involving its core methodological disciplines, including statistics, economics, and sociology. Extensive use of observational data and need for causally defensible results makes health services research an ideal stage for comparing disciplines.

This commentary begins by addressing some of the major points in Dowd (2011, this issue) followed by a review of how causality has featured in my own work. The commentary concludes by describing causality from the operational subjective statistics viewpoint, which complements Dowd's paper because it has a different philosophical foundation than the frequentist and Bayesian paradigms and a different viewpoint of causality.

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