‘The editors of the new SAGE Handbook of Regression Analysis and Causal Inference have assembled a wide-ranging, high-quality, and timely collection of articles on topics of central importance to quantitative social research, many written by leaders in the field. Everyone engaged in statistical analysis of social-science data will find something of interest in this book.’

- John Fox, Professor, Department of Sociology, McMaster University

‘The authors do a great job in explaining the various statistical methods in a clear and simple way - focussing on fundamental understanding, interpretation of results, and practical application - yet being precise in their exposition.’

- Ben Jann, Executive Director, Institute of Sociology, University of Bern

‘Best and Wolf have put together a powerful collection, especially valuable in its separate discussions of uses for both cross-sectional and panel data analysis.’

-Tom Smith, Senior Fellow, NORC, University of Chicago

Edited and written by a team of leading international social scientists, this Handbook provides a comprehensive introduction to multivariate methods. The Handbook focuses on regression analysis of cross-sectional and longitudinal data with an emphasis on causal analysis, thereby covering a large number of different techniques including selection models, complex samples, and regression discontinuities.

Each Part starts with a non-mathematical introduction to the method covered in that section, giving readers a basic knowledge of the method's logic, scope and unique features. Next, the mathematical and statistical basis of each method is presented along with advanced aspects. Using real-world data from the European Social Survey (ESS) and the Socio-Economic Panel (GSOEP), the book provides a comprehensive discussion of each method's application, making this an ideal text for PhD students and researchers embarking on their own data analysis.

Chapter 1: Introduction


ChristofWolf and HenningBest

In recent years, the social sciences have made tremendous progress in quantitative methodology and data analysis. The classical linear model, while still remaining an important foundation for more advanced methods, has been increasingly complemented by specialized techniques. Major improvements include the widespread use of non-linear models, advances in multilevel modeling and Bayesian estimation, the diffusion of longitudinal analyses and, more recently, the focus on novel methods for causal inference.

The interested reader can chose from a number of excellent textbooks on a wide range of topics: starting from general econometrics books such as Wooldridge (2009, 2010) or Greene (2012), ranging over volumes on regression and Bayesian methods (Gelman et al., 2003; Fox, 2008; Gelman and Hill, 2007), multilevel modeling (Hox, 2010), non-linear models ...

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