In this paper, we argue that claims of necessity and sufficiency involve a type of asymmetric causal claim that is useful in many social scientific contexts. Contrary to some qualitative researchers, we maintain that there is nothing about such asymmetries that should lead scholars to depart from standard social science practice. We take as given that deterministic and monocausal tests are inappropriate in the social world and demonstrate that standard multiplicative interaction models are up to the task of handling asymmetric causal claims in a multivariate, probabilistic manner. We illustrate our argument with examples from the empirical literature linking electoral institutions and party system size.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Sociology and Political Science
- Political Science and International Relations