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The Challenge of Identification and the Value of Descriptive Evidence

Ronald Smith ()

Chapter 35 in The Palgrave Handbook of Comparative Economics, 2021, pp 917-940 from Springer

Abstract: Abstract This chapter reviews a number of issues of measurement and methodology that arise in comparative economics. There is a view in economics that the most interesting research in social science is about questions of cause and effect. However, identifying causal relationships poses major difficulties, since the just-identifying restrictions required are non-testable. Given these difficulties, descriptive statistics are not only a pre-requisite for identification of causal relationships but valuable in their own right. The comparative dimension also helps in constructing data-driven counterfactuals such as those produced by the synthetic control method and the panel data approach for evaluating the effect of major systemic changes. This chapter concludes on the benefits of methodological pluralism.

Keywords: Identification; Causal statements; Counterfactuals; Methodological pluralism (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
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DOI: 10.1007/978-3-030-50888-3_35

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