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Department of Politics

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  1. Department of Politics Research Design and Political Analysis 4. Connecting Levels of Analysis Dr Susan BanducciAssociate Professor in Political Science 6 February 2010

  2. Reading: • Recommended Texts • Mahoney and Goertz (2004). "The Possibility Principle: Choosing Negative Cases in Comparative Research." • Process Tracing and Historical Explanation (Chapter 10). In: George and Bennett (2005). "Case Studies And Theory Development In The Social Sciences." • Complementary Texts • Fearon (1991). "Counterfactuals and Hypothesis Testing in Political Science." • Bennett and Elman (2006). "Qualitative Research: Recent Developments in Case Study Methods."

  3. Plan for today’s seminar: • Introduction to Topic • Exercise • Some more notes • Questions from reading

  4. Levels of Analysis I • Graham Allison • levels of analysis - system level, state level, and sub-state level • beliefs, perception and misperception • rationality • small-group decision-making • Culture and identity • Domestic politics • *unit vs level of analysis (or explanation)

  5. Levels of Analysis II • Levels of reality (see Ritzer, for example) • Three different levels • Micro, meso, macro • Or simple analytical categories • Macro (e.g. Population, power, production) • Meso (segmentation, differentiation, integration) • Micro – emotions, symbols • Bridging the gap

  6. Levels of Analysis III • Two level theories (Goertz and Mahoney 2005 Sociological Research Methods) • Basic Level • Y = X * Z (and only) • Y = X + Z (and/or) • Y = U * X + U * Z (hybrid) • Second Level • Y = min(sum(X1,X2, . . .), 1)

  7. An example: • Skocpol’s Theory of Social Revolution • States and Social Revolutions (1979) • Dep. Var - onset of social revolution in France, Russia, and China through a comparison with several other cases that did not experience social revolution.

  8. Units of Analysis (inference) and Levels of Observation • Causal inference about what? • What is being observed? • Cross-level analysis Observation Analysis

  9. Multi-level analysis • Aggregate Data Analysis • Higher level units, data aggregated from • Contextual Analysis

  10. Example: Results

  11. Group Exercise: • Each group prepare 5 minute presentation using one of the examples • Answer following questions: • What are the levels of analysis? • What is the unit of analysis? • What is the level of explanation? • Represent units, levels and “causal” pathways in a diagram • Be prepared to ask questions about other examples.

  12. Ecological Fallacy • Inferring individual-level relationships from relationships observed at an aggregate level. • This is because the correlation between ecologic variables is often markedly different from the corresponding individual correlation within the same population • Robinson, 1950, Ecological Correlations and the behavior of individuals. Am Soc Rev.

  13. Multiple Levels of Analysis • Cross-level inference • Both levels interact • Units (micro, level 1) within bigger units (macro, level 2) • Individuals within countries • Firms within states • Elections within years, within countries

  14. Multiple Levels of Analysis • Cross-level inference • Units (micro, level 1) within bigger units (macro, level 2) • Individuals within countries • Firms within states • Elections within years, within countries

  15. Questions: • Case selection • Selecting for characteristics at both levels