The Duck of Minerva

The Duck Quacks at Twilight

You Lost Me in the Second Paragraph

November 11, 2011

Literally (Abstract):

We define a causal mechanism as a process in which a causal variable of interest, i.e., a treatment variable, influences an outcome. The identification of a causal mechanism requires the specification of an intermediate variable or a mediator that lies on the causal pathway between the treatment and outcome variables. Although qualitative studies often employ the method of process tracing, quantitative investigation of causal mechanisms is based on the estimation of causal mediation effects. Indeed, the traditional approach to causal mediation analysis has been to use structural equation models (e.g., MacKinnon 2008; Shadish, Cook, and Campbell 2001), a practice which goes back decades (Haavelmo 1943).

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Daniel H. Nexon is a Professor at Georgetown University, with a joint appointment in the Department of Government and the School of Foreign Service. His academic work focuses on international-relations theory, power politics, empires and hegemony, and international order. He has also written on the relationship between popular culture and world politics.