Dyadic Analysis in International Relations: A Cautionary Tale

An earlier version was presented at APSA (2009) under the title "Dirty Pool Revisited: When Less is More."

45 Pages Posted: 13 Aug 2009 Last revised: 12 Jul 2012

See all articles by Robert S. Erikson

Robert S. Erikson

Columbia University - Department of Political Science

Pablo M. Pinto

University of Houston

Kelly Rader

Yale University

Date Written: June 29, 2012

Abstract

We explore problems with the use of dyadic data in international relations. We illustrate these problems by analyzing a central proposition among IR scholars that democracies seek out other democracies as trading partners. Our main contribution is to present randomization tests to infer the correct p-values associated with the trade hypotheses. Our results show that typical statistical tests for significance are severely overconfident in dyadic data. Second, we show that democratic trade can be modeled using nations as the units of analysis, testing whether the proportion of trade with other democracies increases when a country becomes more democratic. Third, we conduct a difference-in-differences analysis of change in trading partners following democratic or anti-democratic shocks. Rather than adding further layers of statistical complexity, these tests are simple and intuitive. They provide the cleanest evidence that when nations undergo democratic or nondemocratic transitions, their trade patterns change just as theory would suggest.

Keywords: democracy, trade, randomization tests, hypothesis testing

JEL Classification: D72, F19, F59, C12, C14

Suggested Citation

Erikson, Robert S. and Pinto, Pablo M. and Rader, Kelly, Dyadic Analysis in International Relations: A Cautionary Tale (June 29, 2012). An earlier version was presented at APSA (2009) under the title "Dirty Pool Revisited: When Less is More.". Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1450061 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1450061

Robert S. Erikson (Contact Author)

Columbia University - Department of Political Science ( email )

MC3320
420 West 118th Street
New York, NY 10027
United States
212-854-0036 (Phone)

Pablo M. Pinto

University of Houston ( email )

TX 77204-3011
United States
7137432540 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://pablopinto.com

Kelly Rader

Yale University ( email )

Box 208269
New Haven, CT 06520-8269
United States

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
253
Abstract Views
1,720
rank
122,700
PlumX Metrics