Donald Rubin

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Donald Rubin
BornDonald Bruce Rubin
(1943-12-22) December 22, 1943 (age 74)
Known forRubin Causal Model
EM Algorithm
Scientific career
InstitutionsEducational Testing Service
Princeton University
University of Wisconsin–Madison
University of Chicago
Harvard University
Tsinghua University
Temple University
Doctoral advisorWilliam Gemmell Cochran
Doctoral students

Donald Bruce Rubin (born December 22, 1943) works at Tsinghua University in China and at Temple University in Philadelphia.[1]

He is most well known for the Rubin Causal Model, a set of methods designed for causal inference with observational data, and for his methods for dealing with missing data.


Rubin was born in Washington, D.C. into a family of lawyers.[2] As an undergraduate Rubin attended the accelerated Princeton University PhD program where he was one of a cohort of 20 students mentored by the physicist John Wheeler (the intention of the program was to confer degrees within 5 years of freshman matriculation). He switched to psychology and graduated in 1965. He began graduate school in psychology at Harvard with a National Science Foundation fellowship, but because his statistics background was considered insufficient, he was asked to take introductory statistics courses. Rubin felt insulted by this given his background in physics, so he decided to transfer to applied math, as he says in the introduction to Matched Sampling for Causal Effects.[citation needed]

He received his M.A. in applied math in 1966, and spent the summer consulting for Princeton sociologist Robert Althauser on comparing the achievement of white and black students, where he first used a matching method[citation needed].

Rubin became a PhD student again, this time in Statistics under William Cochran at the Harvard Statistics Department. After graduating from Harvard in 1970, he began working at the Educational Testing Service in 1971, and served as a visiting faculty member at Princeton's new statistics department. He published his major papers on the Rubin causal model in 1974–1980, and a textbook on the subject with econometrician Guido Imbens.[3] In 1977 he was elected as a Fellow of the American Statistical Association.[4]

Rubin later moved to the University of Wisconsin–Madison and the University of Chicago. He was hired by Harvard as Professor of Statistics in 1984, and served as chair of the Statistics Department from 1985-1994. He retired from Harvard in 2018.


  1. ^ "Fox School, Temple University, appoints Rubin and Airoldi". IMS Bulletin. Institute of Mathematical Statistics. September 1, 2018. Retrieved October 23, 2018.
  2. ^ Li, Fan; Mealli, Fabrizia (2014). "A Conversation with Donald B. Rubin". Statistical Science. 29 (3): 439–457. arXiv:1404.1789. doi:10.1214/14-STS489.
  3. ^ "Causal Inference in Statistics, Social, and Biomedical Sciences". Cambridge University Press. Cambridge University Press. Retrieved 24 February 2015.
  4. ^ View/Search Fellows of the ASA, accessed 2016-08-20.


  • DB Rubin, "My introduction to matched sampling", in DB Rubin, Matched Sampling for Causal Effects, Cambridge, 2006.

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