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Counterfactuals and Causal Inference: Methods and Principles for Social Research / Edition 1

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Overview

Did mandatory busing programs in the 1970s increase the school achievement of disadvantaged minority youth? Does obtaining a college degree increase an individual's labor market earnings? Did the use of a butterfly ballot in some Florida counties in the 2000 presidential election cost Al Gore votes? Simple cause-and-effect questions such as these are the motivation for much empirical work in the social sciences. In this book, the counterfactual model of causality for observational data analysis is presented, and methods for causal effect estimation are demonstrated using examples from sociology, political science, and economics.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"The use of counterfactuals for causal inference has brought clarity to our reasoning about causality. And this second edition by Morgan and Winship will bring clarity to anyone trying to learn about the field. It is an excellent introduction to the topic, and a fine place to begin learning causal inference."
Tyler J. VanderWeele, Harvard University

"This improved edition of Morgan and Winship’s book elevates traditional social sciences, including economics, education and political science, from a hopeless flirtation with regression to a solid science of causal interpretation, based on two foundational pillars: counterfactuals and causal graphs. A must for anyone seeking an understanding of the modern tools of causal analysis, and a must for anyone expecting science to secure explanations, not merely descriptions."
Judea Pearl, University of California, Los Angeles

"More has been learned about causal inference in the last few decades than the sum total of everything that had been learned about it in all prior recorded history. The first comprehensive survey of the modern causal inference literature was the first edition of Morgan and Winship. Now with the second edition of this successful book comes the most up-to-date treatment."
Gary King, Harvard University

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521671934
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 7/31/2007
  • Series: Analytical Methods for Social Research Series
  • Edition description: Older Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 328
  • Sales rank: 676,929
  • Product dimensions: 5.91 (w) x 8.94 (h) x 0.79 (d)

Meet the Author

Stephen L. Morgan is the Bloomberg Distinguished Professor of Sociology and Education at Johns Hopkins University. He was previously the Jan Rock Zubrow '77 Professor in the Social Sciences and the director of the Center for the Study of Inequality at Cornell University. His current areas of interest include social stratification, the sociology of education, and quantitative methodology. He has published On the Edge of Commitment: Educational Attainment and Race in the United States (2005) and, as editor, the Handbook of Causal Analysis for Social Research (2013).

Christopher Winship is the Diker–Tishman Professor of Sociology and member of the senior faculty of Harvard's Kennedy School of Government. Prior to coming to Harvard in 1992, he was Professor of Sociology and Statistics and by courtesy Economics at Northwestern University. His research focuses on statistical models for causal inference – most recently mechanisms and endogenous selection; how black clergy in Boston have worked with police to reduce youth violence; the effects of education on mental ability; pragmatism as the basis for a theory of action; the implications of advances in cognitive psychology for sociology; sociological approaches to how individuals understand justice. Since 1995 he has been editor of Sociological Methods and Research.

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Table of Contents

Part I. Causality and Empirical Research in the Social Sciences: 1. Introduction; Part II. Counterfactuals, Potential Outcomes, and Causal Graphs: 2. Counterfactuals and the potential-outcome model; 3. Causal graphs; Part III. Estimating Causal Effects by Conditioning on Observed Variables to Block Backdoor Paths: 4. Models of causal exposure and identification criteria for conditioning estimators; 5. Matching estimators of causal effects; 6. Regression estimators of causal effects; 7. Weighted regression estimators of causal effects; Part IV. Estimating Causal Effects When Backdoor Conditioning is Ineffective: 8. Self-selection, heterogeneity, and causal graphs; 9. Instrumental-variable estimators of causal effects; 10. Mechanisms and causal explanation; 11. Repeated observations and the estimation of causal effects; Part V. Estimation When Causal Effects Are Not Point Identified by Observables: 12. Distributional assumptions, set identification, and sensitivity analysis; Part VI. Conclusions: 13. Counterfactuals and the future of empirical research in observational social science.
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