Explaining the great reversal in Spanish America fuzzy-set analysis versus regression analysis

Aaron Katz*, Matthias Vom Hau, James Mahoney

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations

Abstract

This article evaluates the relative strengths and weaknesses of fuzzy-set analysis and regression analysis for explaining the "great reversal" in Spanish America. From 1750 to 1900, the most marginal colonial territories often became the region's wealthiest countries, whereas the most central colonial territories often became the region's poorest countries. To explain this reversal, five competing hypotheses are tested using both regression and fuzzy-set methods. The fuzzy-set analysis reaches substantively important conclusions, finding that strong liberal factions are probabilistically necessary for economic development and that dense indigenous populations are probabilistically necessary for social underdevelopment. By contrast, the regression analysis generates findings that are not meaningful. The article concludes that fuzzy-set analysis and regression analysis operate in different "causal universes" and that greater attention should be granted to the causal universe occupied by fuzzy-set analysis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)539-573
Number of pages35
JournalSociological Methods and Research
Volume33
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2005

Keywords

  • Colonialism
  • Development
  • Necessary causes
  • Sufficient causes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science

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