Statistical Models for Political Science Event Counts: Bias in Conventional Procedures and Evidence for the Exponential Poisson Regression Model
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CitationKing, Gary. 1988. Statistical models for political science event counts: Bias in conventional procedures and evidence for the exponential Poisson Regression model. American Journal of Political Science 32(3): 838-863.
AbstractThis paper presents analytical, Monte Carlo, and empirical evidence on models for event count data. Event counts are dependent variables that measure the number of times some event occurs. Counts of international events are probably the most common, but numerous examples exist in every empirical field of the discipline. The results of the analysis below strongly suggest that the way event counts have been analyzed in hundreds of important political science studies have produced statisti-
cally and substantively unreliable results. Misspecification, inefficiency, bias, inconsistency, insufficiency, and other problems result from the unknowing application of two common methods that are
without theoretical justification or empirical utility in this type of data. I show that the exponential Poisson regression (EPR) model provides analytically, in large samples, and empirically, in small,
finite samples, a far superior model and optimal estimator. I also demonstrate the advantage of this methodology in an application to nineteenth-century party switching in the U.S. Congress. Its use by
political scientists is strongly encouraged.
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