Case Selection and Causal Inferences in Qualitative Comparative Research

PLOS One, 14 (7) (2019)

18 Pages Posted: 28 Jul 2009 Last revised: 4 Jan 2020

See all articles by Thomas Pluemper

Thomas Pluemper

Vienna University of Economics and Business - Department of Socioeconomics; University of Essex - Department of Government

Vera E. Troeger

University of Essex - Department of Government

Eric Neumayer

London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE)

Date Written: April 27, 2010

Abstract

Traditionally, social scientists perceived causality as regularity. As a consequence, qualitative comparative case study research was regarded as unsuitable for drawing causal inferences since a few cases cannot establish regularity. The dominant perception of causality has changed, however. Nowadays, social scientists define and identify causality through the counterfactual effect of a treatment. This brings causal inference in qualitative comparative research back on the agenda since comparative case studies can identify counterfactual treatment effects. We argue that the validity of causal inferences from the comparative study of cases depends on the employed case-selection algorithm. We employ Monte Carlo techniques to demonstrate that different case-selection rules strongly differ in their ex ante reliability for making valid causal inferences and identify the most and the least reliable case selection rule.

Suggested Citation

Plümper, Thomas and Troeger, Vera E. and Neumayer, Eric, Case Selection and Causal Inferences in Qualitative Comparative Research (April 27, 2010). PLOS One, 14 (7) (2019). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1439868 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1439868

Thomas Plümper (Contact Author)

Vienna University of Economics and Business - Department of Socioeconomics ( email )

Vienna
Austria

University of Essex - Department of Government ( email )

Wivenhoe Park
Colchester, Essex CO4 3SQ
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://www.polsci.org/pluemper

Vera E. Troeger

University of Essex - Department of Government ( email )

Wivenhoe Park
Colchester CO4 3SQ, CO4 3SQ
United Kingdom

Eric Neumayer

London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) ( email )

Houghton Street
London, WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom
+44 207 955 7598 (Phone)
+44 207 955 7412 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://personal.lse.ac.uk/neumayer

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