Causal inference in political science research: global trends and implications on Philippine political scholarship

Posted by on January 5, 2024 in Recent Publications | 0 comments

Ronald A. Pernia


This paper examines the role of causal inference in the on-going methodological debate in political science research. Here, we critically engage the extant literature, take stock of the major debates, articulate key gaps and its limitations. Then, we leverage published journal articles in Web of Science (WoS) database collections and analyze them according to their publication years, topics, research areas, and countries/regions that they focused on. Finally, we did the same review at the country-level to look for nuanced patterns. We found that there is an influx of causal inference articles that are primarily election-related and concerns about the government and law. A good number of these studies focused in developed countries, while only limited interest in developing countries. Ultimately, we demonstrate that while the trend of much political science research has been the pursuit of causal inference, many regional and national-level studies of this kind remain scant and marginal. This is particularly revealing in the Philippine context which suggests potentially minimal exposure and lesser interaction and dissemination of the core ideas of establishing cause-and-effect in social science. This bears implications to the state and trajectory of empirical political works in Philippine political science.


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