Methodology

Concrete Counterfactual Tests for Process-Tracing

Authors

Abstract

There exists a variety of approaches for making causal inferences in process-tracing, each based on a different philosophical conception of what a causal mechanism is. These different approaches give conflicting methodological advice and so it is crucial to commit to one of them. In this paper, I defend a variance-based (‘interventionist’) approach, based on the work of philosopher of causation James Woodward (Runhardt 2014, 2016; Woodward 2003). This approach is based on counterfactual analysis and as such is often criticized for purportedly being unable to provide concrete evidential tests. In the first part of the paper, I meet this criticism head-on by presenting a new, concrete, counterfactual-based evidential framework. In the second part, I illustrate the framework using Haggard and Kaufman's Dictators and Democrats as a case study. I finish with a short Bayesian interpretation of the framework.

Content

Thumbnail image of APSA Paper R W Runhardt.pdf

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