The Dangers of Extreme Counterfactuals

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The Dangers of Extreme Counterfactuals

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dc.contributor.author King, Gary
dc.contributor.author Zeng, Langche
dc.date.accessioned 2010-06-14T18:36:08Z
dc.date.issued 2006
dc.identifier.citation King, Gary, and Langche Zeng. 2006. The dangers of extreme counterfactuals. Political Analysis 14(2): 131-159. en_US
dc.identifier.issn 1047-1987 en_US
dc.identifier.uri http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:4215040
dc.description.abstract We address the problem that occurs when inferences about counterfactuals -- predictions, "what if" questions, and causal effects -- are attempted far from the available data. The danger of these extreme counterfactuals is that substantive conclusions drawn from statistical models that fit the data well turn out to be based largely on speculation hidden in convenient modeling assumptions that few would be willing to defend. Yet existing statistical strategies provide few reliable means of identifying extreme counterfactuals. We offer a proof that inferences farther from the data are more model-dependent, and then develop easy-to-apply methods to evaluate how model-dependent our answers would be to specified counterfactuals. These methods require neither sensitivity testing over specified classes of models nor evaluating any specific modeling assumptions. If an analysis fails the simple tests we offer, then we know that substantive results are sensitive to at least some modeling choices that are not based on empirical evidence. en_US
dc.description.sponsorship Government en_US
dc.language.iso en_US en_US
dc.publisher Oxford University Press en_US
dc.relation.isversionof doi:10.1093/pan/mpj004 en_US
dash.license LAA
dc.title The Dangers of Extreme Counterfactuals en_US
dc.type Journal Article en_US
dc.description.version Version of Record en_US
dc.relation.journal Political Analysis -Ann Arbor then Oxford- en_US
dash.depositing.author King, Gary
dc.date.available 2010-06-14T18:36:08Z

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  • FAS Scholarly Articles [7374]
    Peer reviewed scholarly articles from the Faculty of Arts and Sciences of Harvard University

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