Journal Article

On Formal Theory and Statistical Methods: A Response to Carrubba, Yuen, and Zorn

Curtis S. Signorino

in Political Analysis

Published on behalf of Political Methodology Section of the American Political Science Association

Volume 15, issue 4, pages 483-501
Published in print January 2007 | ISSN: 1047-1987
Published online October 2007 | e-ISSN: 1476-4989 | DOI:
On Formal Theory and Statistical Methods: A Response to Carrubba, Yuen, and Zorn

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The recent article by Carrubba, Yuen, and Zorn (2007) (CYZ) attempts to relate the strategic random utility models in Signorino (1999, 2002, 2003) and in Signorino and Yilmaz (2003) to existing game theory practice and to existing statistical techniques. It contributes to this literature by reminding us that comparative statics analysis can be applied to the equilibria of these models. There are a number of claims in CYZ, however, that require clarification. In particular, the article's primary claim is that comparative statics analysis, in combination with one of three proposed statistical estimators, provides a simpler alternative to methods previously advocated. This claim (or combination of claims) is incorrect. When one examines the procedure CYZ recommends, it is no simpler for substantive researchers than anything previously recommended. Moreover, none of the proposed estimators are new: they are exactly the same methods introduced in Signorino (1999, 2003), in Signorino and Yilmaz (2003), in Signorino, Walker, and Bas (2002), and in Bas, Signorino, and Walker (2007).

Journal Article.  8632 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Politics

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