The Logic of Scientific Causal Inference
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The Logic of Scientific Causal Inference. An Introduction to Designing Social Inquiry. Logic of Scientific Inquiry. Inter-subjective Standards Mathematics Logic Subjective Standards Religion Normative philosophy . What is the job of a social scientist?.

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The Logic of Scientific Causal Inference

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The logic of scientific causal inference

The Logic of Scientific Causal Inference

An Introduction to Designing Social Inquiry


Logic of scientific inquiry

Logic of Scientific Inquiry

  • Inter-subjective Standards

    • Mathematics

    • Logic

  • Subjective Standards

    • Religion

    • Normative philosophy


  • What is the job of a social scientist

    What is the job of a social scientist?

    • To try to use whatever tools we have at our disposal to prove ourselves wrong.

      • Tools:

        • Logic

        • Empirical observation

      • Try to disprove our theory as much as possible

      • Unfortunately, we cannot prove anything

    • Always estimate the level of uncertainty in any claim


    Approaches to political science

    Approaches to Political Science

    • Interpretavism – if we describe the phenomenon, what does it mean

    • Behavioralism – the underlying roots of our attitudes and behaviors

    • Neo-institutionalism – the relationships among attitudes and behaviors depend on rules

    • Rational Choice

      • Assume preferences

      • Deduce outcomes


    The logic of scientific causal inference

    The Research Question:Why does ‘y’ vary?

    • Why do some people vote for Democrats and others for Republicans?

    • Why do some ethnic conflicts get resolved and other end in holocausts?

    • Why do some democracies remain stable and others fall apart?

    • Why are some economies successful and others are not?

    • Why do some civil conflicts result in revolution and others do not?

    • What causes some people to support the civil liberties of political enemies?

    • What causes some people to trust one another and others not to trust?

    • What causes some people to participate in their government?

    • What causes some people to bring litigation against their government?


    Measurement

    Measurement


    The logic of scientific causal inference

    Measurement

    • Inter-subjective Measures

      • Inches

      • Degrees Fahrenheit

      • Dollars

    • Continuous v. Discrete


    The logic of scientific causal inference

    Concepts that are difficult to measure intersubjectively

    • Democracy

    • Self-Esteem

    • Ideology


    The logic of scientific causal inference

    Face Validity: Political Tolerance

    If your worst political enemy (i.e. Nazi’s, KKK) came to your town, would you support their right to march downtown?

    Not support at all

    Not really support

    Somewhat support

    Strongly support

    4

    1

    2

    3


    The logic of scientific causal inference

    High Variance

    Mean


    The logic of scientific causal inference

    Low Variance

    Mean


    The logic of scientific causal inference

    Variance: Political Tolerance

    40

    35

    30

    Lowest

    25

    Low

    Number of People

    20

    Medium

    15

    High

    10

    Highest

    5

    0

    Political Tolerance


    Correlation is not causality

    Correlation is not causality

    • Fire trucks  fire damage

    • Storks  babies


    What causes people to be politically tolerant

    What causes people to be politically tolerant?

    40

    35

    30

    Lowest

    25

    Low

    20

    Medium

    15

    High

    10

    Highest

    5

    0

    Political Tolerance


    The logic of scientific causal inference

    Statistical Relationships

    40

    3

    3

    3

    2

    35

    2

    3

    3

    1

    3

    2

    30

    1

    3

    Education

    3

    1

    25

    1

    3

    3

    3

    1

    Lowest

    Low

    Medium

    High

    Highest

    3

    3

    20

    2

    2

    2

    3

    2

    4

    2

    3

    2

    3

    2

    4

    3

    2

    1

    15

    4

    3

    4

    2

    1

    2

    3

    4

    3

    4

    3

    2

    2

    3

    2

    4

    5

    10

    1

    1

    2

    3

    4

    3

    4

    5

    5

    4

    4

    1

    1

    2

    2

    3

    3

    5

    5

    5

    5

    1

    2

    2

    2

    3

    3

    4

    4

    5

    5

    5

    2

    1

    3

    2

    3

    4

    3

    5

    5

    4

    5

    1

    1

    2

    3

    3

    3

    5

    4

    5

    5

    0

    1 2 34 5

    Political Tolerance


    The logic of scientific causal inference

    Statistical Relationships

    6

    Slope

    5

    4

    Political Tolerance

    Mean

    3

    2

    1

    0

    0

    1

    2

    3

    4

    5

    6

    Education


    Probability best guess

    Probability: Best Guess

    • What is the probable value of tolerance, given condition of education?

    • This is what the slope tells us.

    6

    Slope

    5

    4

    Political Tolerance

    Mean

    3

    2

    1

    0

    0

    1

    2

    3

    4

    5

    6

    Education


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