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Cross-level Inference
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In the last few years, new disputes have erupted over the use of group averages from census areas or voting districts to draw inferences about individual social behaviour. Social scientists, policy analysts and historians often have little choice about using this kind of data, but statistical analysis of them is fraught with pitfalls. The recent debates have led to a new menu of choices for the applied researcher. This volume explains why older methods like ecological regression so often fail, and it examines the promising new techniques for cross-level inference. Experts in statistical analysis of aggregate data, Christopher H. Achen and W. Phillips Shively, contend that cross-level inference makes unusually strong demands on substantive knowledge, so that no one method, such as Goodman's ecological regression, will fit all situations. Criticizing Goodman's model and some recent attempts to replace it, the authors argue for a range of alternate techniques, including extensions of cross-tabular, regression analysis and unobservable variable estimators.
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