Double/Debiased Machine Learning for Dynamic Treatment Effects

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 34 (NeurIPS 2021)

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Greg Lewis, Vasilis Syrgkanis


We consider the estimation of treatment effects in settings when multiple treatments are assigned over time and treatments can have a causal effect on future outcomes. We propose an extension of the double/debiased machine learning framework to estimate the dynamic effects of treatments and apply it to a concrete linear Markovian high-dimensional state space model and to general structural nested mean models. Our method allows the use of arbitrary machine learning methods to control for the high dimensional state, subject to a mean square error guarantee, while still allowing parametric estimation and construction of confidence intervals for the dynamic treatment effect parameters of interest. Our method is based on a sequential regression peeling process, which we show can be equivalently interpreted as a Neyman orthogonal moment estimator. This allows us to show root-n asymptotic normality of the estimated causal effects.