Methods for Quantitative Macro-Comparative Research

Methods for Quantitative Macro-Comparative Research

© 2014 | 296 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc

Will a one-child policy increase economic growth?  Does globalization contribute to global warming?  Are unequal societies less healthy than more egalitarian societies? 

It is questions like these that social scientists turn to quantitative macro-comparative research (QMCR) to answer. Although many social scientists understand statistics conceptually, they struggle with the mathematical skills required to conduct QMCR. This non-mathematical book is intended to bridge that gap, interpreting the advanced statistics used in QMCR in terms of verbal descriptions that any college graduate with a basic background in statistics can follow. It addresses both the philosophical foundations and day-to-day practice of QMCR in an effort to improve research outcomes and ensure policy relevance.

A comprehensive guide to QMCR, the book presents an overview of the questions that can be answered using QMCR, details the steps of the research process, and concludes with important guidelines and best practices for conducting QMCR. The book assumes that the reader has a sound grasp of the fundamentals of linear regression modeling, but no advanced mathematical knowledge is required in order for researchers and students to read, understand, and enjoy the book. A conversational discussion style supplemented by 75 tables and figures makes the book's methodological arguments accessible to both students and professionals. Extensive citations refer readers back to primary discussions in the literature, and a comprehensive index provides easy access to coverage of specific techniques.

1. The Logic of Macro-Comparative Research
2. The International Data Infrastructure
3. Variable Operationalization
4. The Structure of Country Data
5. Statistical Modeling with Cross-Sectional Designs
6. Structured and Longitudinal Designs for Establishing Causality
7. Repeated Measures and Multilevel Modeling
8. An Interpretive Research and Policy Framework
Conclusion: The Political Economy of Quantitative Macro-Comparative Research

Sample Materials & Chapters

Sample Chapter 2

Sample Chapter 7

 “There isn’t any text I am aware of like this, and as the author notes, there is an increasing amount of interest in this area, so a text is needed.”

Richard York, University of Oregon 

Richard York
University of Oregon
Richard York

“All too often statistical analysis texts lose sight of the reasons for conducting the research in the first place, but that is certainly not the case here…The chapters thus far actually go far beyond much of the current work by both synthesizing a wide variety of material and explicitly dealing with many of the taken for granted assumptions…All of the writing is quite clear, even when it verges into quite complex methodological territory.  The examples are well chosen.”

Buster Smith, Catawba College 

Buster Smith
Catawba College
Buster Smith

“This should be required reading for World Bank, OECD and U.N. researchers and data collectors as well as applied and academic sociologists, economists, political scientists and others who conduct cross country comparisons using publicly available large datasets.

Ernesto Castañeda, University of Texas at El Paso 

Ernesto Castañeda
University of Texas at El Paso
Ernesto Castañeda

“I really don’t know how the author has managed it, but he covers complex material in an incredibly clear way…I think students who have a weaker background in statistics will learn a lot from the text and students with an advanced background in statistics will look at their analyses in a different way (from the point of planning analyses to actually interpreting results).”

Lesley Williams Reid, Georgia State University

Lesley Williams Reid
Georgia State University
Lesley Williams Reid

“I suspect this book will greatly enhance the teaching and practice of rigorous macro-level comparative analysis. It is a welcome addition to the teaching and training of future comparativists…I like very much the author’s courage in directly assessing and sometimes challenging the existing literature…This book must be taken seriously by all students of comparative politics.  One can learn a great deal from it—it is a “big picture” book, covering well and widely the current state of research and analysis utilizing macro-approaches to the study of comparative politics.”

Thomas Lancaster, Emory University

Thomas Lancaster
Emory University
Thomas Lancaster
Key features


  • Offering unique coverage of both data sources and statistical models, this book is accessibly written and does not require mathematics, making it the perfect resource for professionals and students alike.
  • Extensive coverage of causality explores "why we model" (not often covered) rather than "how to model" (found in any textbook), an approach that promotes critical thinking.
  • An extensive, accessible discussion of repeated measures / multilevel models helps readers to understand these highly controversial, poorly understood models.
  • Coverage of when to run which models provides readers with seldom-provided advice.
  • A fascinating final chapter discusses the dynamic link between research and policy, showing how research results directly influence and shape real-life decisions.

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ISBN: 9781412974950