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Analytic Narratives, Case Studies, and Development

27 Pages Posted: 8 Sep 2016 Last revised: 1 Jun 2017

Margaret Levi

Stanford University - Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences

Barry R. Weingast

Stanford University, Department of Political Science

Date Written: September 6, 2016

Abstract

Analytic narratives (Bates et al 1998, 2000; Levi 2002, 2004) involve selecting a problem or puzzle, then building a model to explicate the logic of an explanation for the puzzle or problem, often in the context of a unique case. The method involves several steps. First, the use of narrative to elucidate the principal players, their preferences, the key decision points and possible choices, and the rules of game, all in a textured and sequenced account. Second, building a model of the sequence of interaction, including predicted outcomes. This criterion generally involves an explicit game and hence an equilibrium. Third, the evaluation of the model through comparative statics and the testable implications the model generates. The analytic narrative approach is most useful to scholars who seek to evaluate the strength of parsimonious causal mechanisms in the context of a specific and often unique case. The requirement of explicit formal theorizing (or at least theory that could be formalized) compels scholars to make causal statements and to identify a small number of variables as central to understanding the case.

Keywords: Analytic Narratives, case studies, unique events, model testing

JEL Classification: B49, O10, P14, P16, P48, Z18

Suggested Citation

Levi, Margaret and Weingast, Barry R., Analytic Narratives, Case Studies, and Development (September 6, 2016). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2835704 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2835704

Margaret Levi

Stanford University - Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences ( email )

75 Alta Rd
Stanford, CA 94305
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.casbs.org

Barry R. Weingast (Contact Author)

Stanford University, Department of Political Science ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305-6010
United States
650-723-0497 (Phone)
650-723-1808 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://https://www.stanford.edu/group/mcnollgast/cgi-bin/wordpress/

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