In defense of comparative statics: Specifying empirical tests of models of strategic interaction

Clifford J. Carrubba, Amy Yuen, Christopher Zorn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

25 Scopus citations


Beginning in 1999, Curtis Signorino challenged the use of traditional logits and probits analysis for testing discrete-choice, strategic models. Signorino argues that the complex parametric relationships generated by even the simplest strategic models can lead to wildly inaccurate inferences if one applies these traditional approaches. In their stead, Signorino proposes generating stochastic formal models, from which one can directly derive a maximum likelihood estimator. We propose a simpler, alternative methodology for theoretically and empirically accounting for strategic behavior. In particular, we propose carefully and correctly deriving one's comparative statics from one's formal model, whether it is stochastic or deterministic does not particularly matter, and using standard logit or probit estimation techniques to test the predictions. We demonstrate that this approach performs almost identically to Signorino's more complex suggestion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)465-482
Number of pages18
JournalPolitical Analysis
Issue number4
StatePublished - Sep 1 2007


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations

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