FAQ: Data Analyses and Conclusions - Causal analysis with observational data

This community-built FAQ covers the " Causal analysis with observational data" exercise from the lesson “Data Analyses and Conclusions”.

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> Based on the attached graph, I need to make sure that my answers to questions in the exercise are rational.

Q1: Is margarine consumption correlated with divorce rate?
There is observed correlation between them as both of them tends to decrease starting from 2000 to 2009 where the difference between values along years were almost equal at 2001 and they started to increase with observed saturation from 2002 till 2007 before it returned to decrease again till 2009

Q2: Does consuming less margarine cause fewer people to get divorced in Maine? Why or why not?
It is obvious that low margin consuming results in fewer people to get divorced in Maine, but we aren’t sure if there are any external factors that may contribute in lowering divorce rate


The graph does show correlation between Margarine Consumption and Divorce Rate (in Maine for the years mentioned), so Q1 can be answered in the affirmative i.e. as a yes.

But I don’t think your answer to Q2 is correct. Correlation is not enough to establish causality. You have noticed a correlation, but that by itself is not sufficient to claim that lowering margarine consumption causes the divorce rate to be lowered. Similarly, we can’t claim that lowering the divorce rate causes margarine consumption to be lowered.


Ya you are right for question 2, I missed that

Correlation is not enough to establish causality

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