On causal inference in the presence of interference

Stat Methods Med Res. 2012 Feb;21(1):55-75. doi: 10.1177/0962280210386779. Epub 2010 Nov 10.


Interference is said to be present when the exposure or treatment received by one individual may affect the outcomes of other individuals. Such interference can arise in settings in which the outcomes of the various individuals come about through social interactions. When interference is present, causal inference is rendered considerably more complex, and the literature on causal inference in the presence of interference has just recently begun to develop. In this article we summarise some of the concepts and results from the existing literature and extend that literature in considering new results for finite sample inference, new inverse probability weighting estimators in the presence of interference and new causal estimands of interest.

MeSH terms

  • Biomedical Research / statistics & numerical data*
  • Causality*
  • Communicable Diseases / epidemiology
  • Data Interpretation, Statistical*
  • Humans
  • Models, Statistical*
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic / statistics & numerical data
  • Vaccination / statistics & numerical data