Does set-relational causation fit into a potential outcomes framework? An Assessment of Gerring’s Proposal

TitleDoes set-relational causation fit into a potential outcomes framework? An Assessment of Gerring’s Proposal
Publication TypeJournal Article
AuthorsSchneider, C. Q., and I. Rohlfing
Journal titleNewsletter of the APSA Section Qualitative Methods and Multi-methods research
Year2012
Pages8-14
Volume10
Issue1
Abstract

One of John Gerring’s aims in his intriguing treatment of social science methodology is the development of a unified account for causal inference on the basis of the potential outcomes (PO) framework (Gerring, John (2012): Social Science Methodology: A Unified Framework. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.). Over the past two decades, the PO framework has become central in quantitative analyses. In qualitative research, in contrast, set theory and set-relational (SR) forms of causation and empirical research have started to play an ever more important role. According to Gerring, the PO account is the more general framework and is able to accommodate SR causation such as necessity and sufficiency. In our contribution to this symposium, we discuss the viability of Gerring’s proposal on how to perform SR research on the basis of the PO framework. Most importantly, we show that the suggested procedure can produce false negatives – indicating the absence of a set relation when, in fact, one exists – and false positives – suggesting the presence of a set relation when there is none. In the concluding section, we detail that if the PO and SR frameworks are truly compatible, all of these SR features must be transposed into the PO framework.

LanguageEnglish
Publisher linkhttp://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2096834
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