Shalev's (2007) critique of the use of multiple regression in comparative research brings together and synthesizes a variety of previous critiques, ranging from those focusing on foundational issues (e.g., the persistent problem of limited diversity), to estimation issues (e.g., the unrealistic assumption of correct model specification), to narrow technical issues (e.g., the difficulty of deriving valid standard errors for regression coefficients in pooled cross-sectional time-series models). Broadly speaking, these concerns can be described as epistemological, theoretical, and methodological, respectively. While the distinctions among these three are not always clear-cut, the tripartite scheme provides a useful way to map the different kinds of critiques that may be directed at the use of regression analysis in comparative research. In the first half of this essay we build upon Shalev's discussion to clarify the conditions under which regression analysis may be epistemologically, theoretically, or methodologically inappropriate for comparative research. Our goal is to situate Shalev's specific critiques of the use of multiple regression in comparative work within the context of social research in general.
Rubinson, C. and Ragin, C.C. (2007), "New Methods for Comparative Research?", Mjøset, L. and Clausen, T.H. (Ed.) Capitalisms Compared (Comparative Social Research, Vol. 24), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 373-389. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0195-6310(06)24013-4
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