Using Sequences to Model Crises

Abstract:

The logic of historical explanation obliges one to understand temporality as a moderator of various effects on political outcomes. Temporal problems remain in the empirical analysis of political phenomena, however, especially as it pertains to categorical data and long-term time-dependence. Many theories in political science assert that sequencing matters or that political outcomes are path-dependent, but they remain untested (or improperly tested) assertions for which sequence analysis may be valuable. We briefly review the disciplinary origins of sequence analysis. We then apply the method to understand bargaining between actors during national crises. Finally, we explore the robustness of a commonly used sequence analysis metric. The ability to demonstrate and to separate sequential effects from accumulative effects–made possible through sequence analysis–constitutes a major step in political science towards analyses that are truly time-sensitive.

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