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Time Series Intervals and Statistical Inference: The Effects of Temporal Aggregation on Event Data Analysis

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  04 January 2017

Stephen M. Shellman*
Department of Government, The College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, VA 23187-8795. e-mail:


While many areas of research in political science draw inferences from temporally aggregated data, rarely have researchers explored how temporal aggregation biases parameter estimates. With some notable exceptions (Freeman 1989, Political Analysis 1:61–98; Alt et al. 2001, Political Analysis 9:21–44; Thomas 2002, “Event Data Analysis and Threats from Temporal Aggregation”) political science studies largely ignore how temporal aggregation affects our inferences. This article expands upon others' work on this issue by assessing the effect of temporal aggregation decisions on vector autoregressive (VAR) parameter estimates, significance levels, Granger causality tests, and impulse response functions. While the study is relevant to all fields in political science, the results directly apply to event data studies of conflict and cooperation. The findings imply that political scientists should be wary of the impact that temporal aggregation has on statistical inference.

Replications and Extensions
Copyright © Society for Political Methodology 2004 

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