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Hypothesis Testing and Multiplicative Interaction Terms

  • Bear F. Braumoeller (a1)

When a statistical equation incorporates a multiplicative term in an attempt to model interaction effects, the statistical significance of the lower-order coefficients is largely useless for the typical purposes of hypothesis testing. This fact remains largely unappreciated in political science, however. This brief article explains this point, provides examples, and offers some suggestions for more meaningful interpretation.I am grateful to Tim McDaniel, Anne Sartori, and Beth Simmons for comments on a previous draft.

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Adserà, Alícia, and CarlesBoix. 2002. Trade, Democracy, and the Size of the Public Sector: The Political Underpinnings of Openness. International Organization56 (2):22962.

Allison, Paul D.1977. Testing for Interaction in Multiple Regression. American Journal of Sociology83 (1):14453.

Beck, Nathaniel, and SimonJackman. 1998. Beyond Linearity by Default: Generalized Additive Models. American Journal of Political Science42 (2):596627.

Friedrich, Robert J.1982. In Defense of Multiplicative Terms in Multiple Regression Equations. American Journal of Political Science26 (4):797833.

Mansfield, Edward D., and JackSnyder. 2002. Democratic Transitions, Institutional Strength, and War. International Organization56 (2):297337.

Schultz, Kenneth. 1999. Do Democratic Institutions Constrain or Inform? Contrasting Two Institutional Perspectives on Democracy and War. International Organization53 (2):23366.

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International Organization
  • ISSN: 0020-8183
  • EISSN: 1531-5088
  • URL: /core/journals/international-organization
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