"Truth" is Stranger than Prediction, More Questionable than Causal Inference
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CitationKing, Gary. 1991. "Truth" is stranger than prediction, more questionable than causal inference. American Journal of Political Science 35(4): 1047-1053.
AbstractRobert Luskin's article in this issue provides a useful service by appropriately qualifying several points I made in my 1986 American Journal of Political Science article. Whereas I focused on how to avoid common mistakes in quantitative political science, Luskin clarifies ways to extract some useful information from usually problematic statistics: correlation coefficients, standardized coefficients, and especially RZ. Since these three statistics are very closely related (and indeed deterministic functions of one another in some cases), I focus in this discussion primarily on R2, the most widely used and abused. Luskin also widens the discussion to various kinds of specification tests, a general issue I also address. In fact, as Beck (1991) reports, a large number of formal specification tests are just functions of R2, with differences among them primarily due to how much each statistic penalizes one for including extra parameters and fewer
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