Models, explanation, and the pitfalls of empirical testing

Modelos, explicação e as armadilhas dos testes empíricos

Resumo

Formal models constitute an essential part of contemporary political science and International Relations. Their recent history is tightly tied to the developments of Rational Choice Theory, which is considered to be the only deductive theory in the social sciences. This unique character, especially its manifestation through mathematical symbolisms, has caused profound schisms and criticisms in the discipline. Formal models have constantly been accused of being built on unrealistic assumptions of human behaviour and social structure, rendering as a result either trivial predictions or no empirical prediction at all. Nevertheless these criticisms frequently ignore essential elements of the concept of explanation and how it is applicable to formal modelling. In this paper, I provide an approach to mathematical modelling that considers the challenges of designing and performing empirical tests of predictions generated by formal models. Rather than disqualifying or falsifying models, empirical tests are paramount to the tailoring of more grounded explanations of political phenomena and should be seen as a tool to enhance modelling. In this sense, I scrutinise two examples of formal modelling in IR, and derive lessons for the empirical testing of models in the discipline.

Os modelos formais constituem uma parte essencial da ciência política contemporânea e das Relações Internacionais. Sua história recente está fortemente ligada aos desenvolvimentos da teoria da escolha racional, que é considerada a única teoria dedutiva nas ciências sociais. Este caráter único, especialmente sua manifestação por meio de simbolismos matemáticos, causou profundas divisões e críticas na disciplina. Os modelos formais têm sido constantemente acusados de serem construídos com base em suposições irrealistas do comportamento humano e da estrutura social, resultando em previsões triviais ou nenhuma previsão empírica. No entanto, essas críticas frequentemente ignoram elementos essenciais do conceito de explicação e como o mesmo é aplicável à modelagem formal. Neste artigo, forneço uma abordagem à modelagem matemática que considera os desafios de conceber e executar testes empíricos de previsões geradas por modelos formais. Em vez de desqualificar ou falsificar modelos, os testes empíricos são fundamentais para a adaptação de explicações mais fundamentadas dos fenômenos políticos e devem ser vistos como uma ferramenta para aprimorar a modelagem. Nesse sentido, analiso dois exemplos de modelagem formal em RI e extraio lições para o teste empírico de modelos na disciplina.

 

Palavras-chave: modelos formais, teoria da escolha racional, teste empírico, explicação

Biografia do Autor

Enzo Lenine Lima, Programa de Pós-Graduação em Ciência Política Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul

Enzo Lenine Nunes Batista Oliveira Lima is PhD in Political Science at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil. His research interests are mostly connected to methodology, formal models and rational choice theory, and hierarchies of knowledge. He has recently published a bibliometric analysis in the International Political Science Review as part of his work on the hierarchies of knowledge in the discipline. ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-5280-4252

Referências

ANSOLABEHERE, S.; SNYDER, J. M. Jr.; STRAUSS, A. B.; TING, M. M. Ting. Voting Weights and Formateur Advantages in the Formation of Coalition Governments. American Journal of Political Science, vol. 49, n. 3, p. 550-563, 2005.

ARROW, K. Social Choice and Individual Values. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1953.

BASSI, A. A Model of Endogenous Government Formation. American Journal of Political Science, vol. 5, n.4, p. 777-793, 2013.

BAYER, N. The Heritage of Emmy Noether in Algebra, Geometry, and Physics. Israel Mathematical Conference Proceeeding, vol 12. 1999. Disponível em: <http://cwp.library.ucla.edu/articles/noether.asg/noether.html>. Acesso em 4 mar 2018.

BLACK, D. The Theory of Committees and Elections. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1958.

BUENO DE MESQUITA, B.; LALMAN, D. War and Reason: Domestic and International Imperatives. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1992.

CARRUBBA, C. J.; YUEN, A.; ZORN, C. In Defense of Comparative Statics: Specifying Empirical Tests of Models of Strategic Interaction. Political Analysis, vol. 15, n. 4, p. 465-482, 2007a.

CARRUBBA, C. J.; YUEN, A.; ZORN, C. Reply to Signorino. Political Analysis, vol. 15, n. 4, p. 502-504, 2007b.

CARTWRIGHT, N. 2010. Models: Parables v Fables. In: FRIGG, R.; HUNTER, M. Beyond Mimesis and Convention: Representation in Art and Science. Amsterdam: Springer Netherlands.

COX, G. The Empirical Content of Rational Choice Theory: A Reply to Green and Shapiro. Journal of Theoretical Politics, vol. 11, n. 2, p. 147-169, 1999.

COX, G. Lies, Damned Lies, and Rational Choice Analyses. In: SHAPIRO, I; SMITH; R. M.; MASOUD, T. E. Problems and Methods in the Study of Politics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004.

DAY, M. A. The No-Slip Condition in Fluid Dynamics. Erkenntnis, vol. 33, n. 3, p. 285-296, 1990.

DOWDING, K. The Philosophy and Methods of Political Science. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2016.

DOWNS, A. An Economic Theory of Democracy. New York: Harper, 1957.

EYERMAN, J.; HART, R. A. Jr. An Empirical Test of the Audience Cost Proposition. Journal of Conflict Resolution, vol. 40, n. 4, p. 597-616, 1996.

FEARON, J. D. Domestic Political Audiences and the Escalation of International Disputes. American Political Science Review, vol. 88, n. 3, p. 577-592, 1994.

FIORINA, M. Rational Choice, Empirical Contributions, and the Scientific Enterprise. Critical Review: A Journal of Politics and Society, vol 9, n. 1-2, p. 85-94, 1995.

GARTZKE, E.; LUPU, Y. Still Looking for Audience Costs. Security Studies, vol. 21, n. 3, p. 391-397, 2012.

GIANNETTI, D.; SENED, I. Party Competition and Coalition Formation. Journal of Theoretical Politics, vol. 16, n. 4, p. 483-515, 2004.

GIERE, R. How models are used to represent reality. Philosophy of Science, vol. 71, n. 5, p. 742-752, 2004.

GREEN, D.; SHAPIRO, I. Pathologies of Rational Choice Theory. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1994.

HAUSMAN, D. M. ‘Testing’ Game Theory. Journal of Economic Methodology, vol. 12, n.2, p. 211-223, 2005.

HOTELLING, H. Stability in Competition. Economic Journal, vol. 39, n. 153, p. 41-57, 1929.

JACKMAN, S. Measurement. In: BOX-STEFFENSMEIERS, J.; BRADY; H. E.; COLLIER, D. The Oxford Handbook of Political Methodology. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008.

JOHNSON, J. Models-As-Fables: An Alternative to the Standard Rationale for Using Formal Models in Political Science. Annual Meetings of the Midwest Political Science Association, “Roundtable: New Directions in Formal Theory. Março 2017.

KING, G.; KEOHANE, R. O.; VERBA, S. Designing Social Enquiry. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1994.

KROESE, D. P.; BRERETON, T; TAIMRE, T.; BOTEV, Z. I. Why the Monte Carlo Method is so Important Today. Computational Statistics, vol. 6, n. 6, p. 386-392, 2014.

LOHMANN, S. 1995. The Poverty of Green and Shapiro. Critical Review: A Journal of Politics and Society, vol. 9, n. 1-2, p. 127-154, 1995.

LUPIA, A.; ALTER, G. Data Access and Research Transparency in the Quantitvative Tradition. Political Science & Politics, vol. 47, n. 1, p. 54-59, 2014.

MÄKI, U. On a Paradox of Truth, or how not to obscure the issue whether explanatory models can be true. Journal of Economic Methodology, vol. 20, n. 3, p. 268-279, 2013.

MORRISON, M.; MORGAN, M. Models as Mediating Instruments. In: MORRISON, M.; MORGAN, M. Models as Mediators: Perspectives on Natural And Social Science. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999.

PARTELL, P. J.; PALMER, G. Audience Costs and Interstate Crises: An Empirical Assessment of Fearon’s Model of Dispute Outcomes. International Studies Quarterly, vol. 43, n. 2, p. 389-405, 1999.

REISS, J. The Explanation Paradox Redux. Journal of Economic Methodology, vol. 20, n. 3, p.280-292, 2013.

ROL, M. Reply to Julian Reiss. Journal of Economic Methodology, vol. 20, n. 3, 244-249, 2013.

RUBINSTEIN, A. Economic Fables. Cambridge: Open Book Publishers, 2012.

SHAPLEY, L. S.; SHUBIK, M. 1988. A Method for Evaluating the Distribution of Power in a Committee System. In: ROTH, A. E. The Shapley Value: Essays in Honor of Lloyd S. Shapley. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 1988.

SIGNORINO, C. S. Strategic Interaction and the Statistical Analysis of International Conflict. American Political Science Review, vol. 93, n. 2, p. 279-297, 1999.

SIGNORINO, C. S. 2003. Structure and Uncertainty in Discrete Choice Models. Political Analysis, vol. 11, n. 4, p. 316-344, 2003.

SIGNORINO, C. S.; YILMAZ, K. Strategic Misspecification in Regression Models. American Journal of Political Science, vol. 47, n. 3, p. 551-566, 2003.

SIGNORINO, C. S. On Formal Theory and Statistical Methods: A Response to Carrubba, Yuen and Zorn. Political Analysis, vol. 15, n. 4, p. 483-501, 2007.

SUGDEN, R. Explanations in Search of Observations. Biology and Philosophy, vol. 26, n. 5, p. 717-736, 2011.

TOMZ, M. Domestic Audience Costs in International Relations: An Experimental Approach. International Organization, vol. 61, n. 4, p. 821-840, 2007.

VOLDEN, C.; CARRUBBA, C. J. The Formation of Oversized Coalitions in Parliamentary Democracies. American Journal of Political Science, vol. 48, n. 3, p. 521-537, 2004.

Publicado
19-12-2018
Como Citar
Lima, E. L. (2018). Models, explanation, and the pitfalls of empirical testing. Estudos Internacionais: Revista De relações Internacionais Da PUC Minas, 6(3), 82-97. https://doi.org/10.5752/P.2317-773X.2018v6n3p82