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Selection Bias in Comparative Research: The Case of Incomplete Data Sets

  • Simon Hug (a1)

Abstract

Selection bias is an important but often neglected problem in comparative research. While comparative case studies pay some attention to this problem, this is less the case in broader cross-national studies, where this problem may appear through the way the data used are generated. The article discusses three examples: studies of the success of newly formed political parties, research on protest events, and recent work on ethnic conflict. In all cases the data at hand are likely to be afflicted by selection bias. Failing to take into consideration this problem leads to serious biases in the estimation of simple relationships. Empirical examples illustrate a possible solution (a variation of a Tobit model) to the problems in these cases. The article also discusses results of Monte Carlo simulations, illustrating under what conditions the proposed estimation procedures lead to improved results.

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