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《International Review》 2018-04
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The Application of Synthetic Control Method for Casual Inference in International Relations Research

Jiang Jianzhong;Zhong Yang;  
The main task of social science research is to discover the causal relationship between complex phenomena. The traditional causal inference techniques such as comparative case analysis and large sample statistical regression have problems such as missing variables and endogeneity. Synthetic control method is the new causal inference technology which is based on the counter-factual principle. Synthetic control method determines the causal relationship between variables by matching actual case and comparison units which areconstructed by multivariate analysis. The applications of synthetic control method in the field of international relations are policy of effectiveness assessment, testing theoretical hypothesis and analysis of the effects of international political events. The actual operation process of synthetic control method can be divided into research design, calculation in software and result expression. Synthetic control method imitates the random experience in natural science and achieves the aim of controlling the obfuscation variable and improving the accuracy of causal inference, which expands the quantitative research technology of international relations. Of course, synthetic control method still has some drawbacks to be overcome, which can complement with traditional research method rather than replacing it.
【Fund】: 国家社科基金后期资助项目“国际关系实证研究方法”(项目编号:16FGJ001)的阶段性成果
【CateGory Index】: D81
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