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On categorical variables and non-parametric statistical inference in the pursuit of causal explanations

Finch, J.H. and McMaster, R. (2002) On categorical variables and non-parametric statistical inference in the pursuit of causal explanations. Cambridge Journal of Economics, 26 (6). pp. 753-772.

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Abstract

This paper proposes a pragmatic alliance between critical realism and non-parametric statistical techniques in pursuit of causal explanations of economic phenomena by retroductive means. The alliance depends on clarifying the interpretive requirements for forming categories within nominal or classificatory scales or as ordinal or ranking scales. It also depends on establishing the scope of demiregularities, as something to be explained and as something that allows a rough and ready extension of experimental conditions. The roughness and readiness of demiregularities is matched by the assumptions and conditions of non-parametric analysis.