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Causal Complexity and the Study of Politics

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  04 January 2017

Bear F. Braumoeller
Affiliation:
Department of Government, Littauer Center, Harvard University, North Yard, Cambridge, MA 02138. e-mail: bfbraum@fas.harvard.edu
Corresponding
E-mail address:

Abstract

Theories that posit complex causation, or multiple causal paths, pervade the study of politics but have yet to find accurate statistical expression. To remedy this situation I derive new econometric procedures, Boolean probit and logit, based on the logic of complexity. The solution provides an answer to a puzzle in the rational deterrence literature: the divergence between theory and case-study findings, on the one hand, and the findings of quantitative studies, on the other, on the issue of the role of capabilities and willingness in the initiation of disputes. It also makes the case that different methodological traditions, rather than settling into “separate but equal” status, can instead inform and enrich one another.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © Political Methodology Section of the American Political Science Association 2003 

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