Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-7ccbd9845f-vmftn Total loading time: 0.533 Render date: 2023-01-29T10:29:06.067Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "useRatesEcommerce": false } hasContentIssue true

Survivorship Bias in Comparative Politics: Endogenous Sovereignty and the Resource Curse

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  06 November 2020

Abstract

Cross-national statistical research based on “all country” data sets involves no deliberate selection and hence ignores the potential for endogenous selection bias. We show that these designs are prone to selection bias if existing units are subject to differential survival rates induced, in part, by treatment. Using rudimentary graph theory, we present survivorship bias as a form of collider bias, which is related to but distinct from selection on the dependent variable. Because collider bias is always relative to a specific causal model, we present a causal model of post-colonial sovereignty on the Arabian Peninsula, show that it implies survivorship bias in the form of false positives with respect to the political resource curse, and provide historical evidence confirming that the model correctly depicts the creation of sovereign countries on the Arabian Peninsula but not elsewhere. When we correct for endogenous selection bias, the effect of oil on autocratic survival is shown to be negligible. The study motivates the need to think more broadly about the nature of the data-generating process when making causal inferences with observational data and to construct statistical models that are sensitive to treatment heterogeneity and rooted in context-specific knowledge and qualitative inferences.

Type
Reflection
Copyright
© The Author(s), 2020. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of the American Political Science Association

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

Footnotes

A list of permanent links to Supplemental Materials provided by the authors precedes the References section.

*

Data replication sets are available in Harvard Dataverse at: https://doi.org/10.7910/DVN/ZU3K7H

Versions of this article were presented at the August 2018 meeting of the American Political Science Association and at the Workshop on Oil and the Changing Rentier State convened by the Project on Middle East Political Science at George Washington University. They are grateful for the comments of participants on these occasions. They also received invaluable comments from Gregory Gause, Steffen Hertog, Jack Paine, Michael Ross, Jan Vogler, and the editor and anonymous reviewers of this journal. Simonas Cepenas, Christopher Dictus, and Hye Ryeon Jang provided excellent research assistance.

References

Abdallah, Muhammad Morsy. 1978. The United Arab Emirates: A Modern History. London: Croon Helm.Google Scholar
Abramson, Scott F. 2017. “The Economic Origins of the Territorial State.” International Organization 71(1): 97-130.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Abu-Hakima, Ahmad Mustafa. 1983. The Modern History of Kuwait, 1750–1965. London: Luzac & Company Limited.Google Scholar
Achen, Christopher. 1986. The Statistical Analysis of Quasi-Experiments. Berkeley: University of California Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Achen, Christopher. 2002. “Toward a New Political Methodology: Microfoundations and ART.” Annual Review of Political Science 5: 423-50.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Ahmadov, Anar K. 2014. “Oil, Democracy, and Context: A Meta-Analysis.” Comparative Political Studies 47(9): 1238-67.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Alangari, Haifa. 1998. The Struggle for Power in Arabia: Ibn Saud, Hussein, and Great Britain, 1914–1924 . Reading, UK: Ithaca Press.Google Scholar
Alesina, Alberto, Easterly, William, and Matuszeski, Janina. 2011. “Artificial States.” Journal of the European Economic Association 9(2): 246277.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Andersen, Jørgen J., and Ross, Michael. 2014. “The Big Oil Change: A Closer Look at the Haber-Menaldo Analysis.” Comparative Political Studies 47(7): 993-1021.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Black, Edwin. 2011. British Petroleum and the Redline Agreement: The West’s Secret Pact to Get Mideast Oil. Washington, DC: Dialog Press.Google Scholar
Blackwell, Matthew, Honaker, James, and King, Gary. 2017. “A Unified Approach to Measurement Error and Missing Data: Overview and Applications.” Sociological Methods & Research 46(3): 303-41.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Brambor, Thomas, Clark, William Roberts, and Golder, Matt. 2006. “Understanding Interaction Models: Improving Empirical Analysis.” Political Analysis 14(1): 63-82.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Carland, John. 1985. The Colonial Office and Nigeria, 1898–1914. Stanford, CA: Hoover Institution Press.Google Scholar
Cheibub, José Antonio, Gandhi, Jennifer, and Vreeland, James Raymond. 2010. “Democracy and Dictatorship Revisited.” Public Choice 143: 67-101.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Clarke, Kevin. 2005. “The Phantom Menace: Omitted Variable Bias in Econometrics Research.” Conflict Management and Peace Science 22(4): 341-52.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Commins, David. 2012. The Gulf States: A Modern History. London: I.B. Tauris.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Cunningham, Scott. 2020. Causal Inference : The Mixtape, Vol 1.7 . Retrieved August 3, 2020 (https://www.scunning.com/cunningham_mixtape.pdf).Google Scholar
Davidson, Christopher M. 2008. Dubai: The Vulnerability of Success. New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
Davidson, Christopher M. 2009. Abu Dhabi: Oil and Beyond. New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
Duffy, James. 1963. Portugal in Africa. Baltimore: Penguin Books.Google Scholar
Dunning, Thad. 2012. Natural Experiments in the Social Sciences: A Design-Based Approach. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Elwert, Felix. 2013. “Graphical Causal Models.” In Handbook of Causal Analysis for Social Research, ed. Morgan, Stephen, 245-274. Dordrecht: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Elwert, Felix, and Winship, Christopher. 2014. “Endogenous Selection Bias: The Problem of Conditioning on a Collider Variable.” Annual Review of Sociology 40: 31-53.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Englebert, Pierre, Tarango, Stacy, and Carter, Matthew. 2002. “Dismemberment and Suffocation: A Contribution to the Debate on African Boundaries.” Comparative Political Studies 35(10): 1098-118.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Feenstra, Robert C., Inklaar, Robert, and Timmer, Marcel P.. 2015. “The Next Generation of the Penn World Table.” American Economic Review 105(10): 3150-82 (www.ggdc.net/pwt ).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Ferwerda, Jeremy, and Miller, Nicholas L.. 2014. “Political Devolution and Resistance to Foreign Rule: A Natural Experiment.” American Political Science Review 108(3): 642-60.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Fromherz, Allen J. 2012. Qatar: A Modern History. Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press.Google Scholar
Gandhi, Jennifer, and Przeworski, Adam. 2007. “Authoritarian Institutions and the Survival of Autocrats.” Comparative Political Studies 40:1279-301. DOI: 10.1177/0010414007305817CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Gause, F. Gregory. 1994. Oil Monarchies: Domestic and Security Challenges in the Arab Gulf States. New York: Council on Foreign Relations Press.Google Scholar
Geddes, Barbara. 1990. “How the Cases You Choose Affect the Answers You Get: Selection Bias in Comparative Politics.” Political Analysis 2: 131-50.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Geddes, Barbara, Wright, Joseph, and Frantz, Erica. 2014. “Autocratic Breakdown and Regime Transitions: A New Data Set.” Perspectives on Politics 12(2): 313-31.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Goldberg, Jacob. 1986. The Foreign Policy of Saudi Arabia: The Formative Years, 1902–1918 . Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Green, Elliott. 2012. “On the Size and Shape of African States.” International Studies Quarterly 56(2): 229-44.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Heard-Bey, Frauke. 1982. From Trucial States to United Arab Emirates . London: Longman.Google Scholar
Herb, Michael. 1999. All in the Family: Absolutism, Revolution, and Democracy in the Middle Eastern Monarchies. Albany: State University of New York Press.Google Scholar
Houle, Christian. 2018. “A Two-Step Theory and Test of the Oil Curse: The Conditional Effect of Oil on Democratization.” Democratization 25(3): 404-21.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Keele, Luke, and Titiunik, Rocio. 2016. “Natural Experiments Based on Geography.” Political Science Research and Methods 4(1): 65-95.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Kelly, John. 2018. Desert Dispute: The Diplomacy of Boundary-Making in South-Eastern Arabia. Berlin: Gerlach Press.Google Scholar
Khalifa, Ali Mohammed. 1979. The United Arab Emirates: Unity in Fragmentation. Boulder, CO: Westview Press.Google Scholar
Khuri, Fuad I. 1980. Tribe and State in Bahrain: The Transformation of Social and Political Authority in an Arab State. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
King, Gary, Keohane, Robert, and Verba, Sidney. 1994. Designing Social Inquiry: Scientific Inference in Qualitative Research. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Kinninmont, Jane. 2011. “Bahrain.” In Power and Politics in the Persian Gulf Monarchies, ed. Davidson, Christopher, 31-62. New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
Knox, Dean, Lowe, Will, and Mummolo, Jonathan. 2020. “Administrative Records Mask Racially Biased Policing.” American Political Science Review 14(3): 618-37. 10.1017/S0003055420000039Google Scholar
Kocher, Matthew A., and Monteiro, Nuno P.. 2016. “Lines of Demarcation: Causation, Design-Based Inference, and Historical Research.” Perspectives on Politics 14(4): 952-75.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Kostiner, Joseph. 1993. The Making of Saudi Arabia, 1916–1936: From Chieftaincy to Monarchical State. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
Leatherdale, Clive. 1983. Britain and Saudi Arabia, 1925–1939: The Imperial Oasis. London: Frank Cass and Company Limited.Google Scholar
Liou, Yu-Ming, and Musgrave, Paul. 2014. “Refining the Oil Curse: Country-Level Evidence from Exogenous Variations in Resource Income.” Comparative Political Studies 47(11): 1584-610.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Longrigg, Stephen Hemsley. 1954. Oil in the Middle East: Its Discovery and Development. London: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
Lustick, Ian S. 1997. “The Absence of Middle Eastern Great Power: Political ‘Backwardness’ in Historical Perspective.” International Organization 51(4): 653-83.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Macris, Jeffrey. 2010. The Politics and Security of the Gulf: Anglo-American Hegemony and the Shaping of a Region. Milton Park: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Martin, Phyllis. 1977. “The Cabinda Connection: An Historical Perspective.” African Affairs 76(302): 47-59.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
McCauley, John F., and Posner, Daniel. 2015. “African Borders as Sources of Natural Experiments: Promise and Pitfalls.” Political Science Research and Methods 3(2): 409-18.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Menaldo, Victor. 2012. “The Middle East and North Africa’s Resilient Monarchs.” Journal of Politics 74(3): 707-22.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Menaldo, Victor. 2016. The Institutions Curse: Natural Resources, Politics, and Development . Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Monroe, Elizabeth. 1981. Britain’s Moment in the Middle East, 1914–1971. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.Google Scholar
Montgomery, Jacob, Nyhan, Brendan, and Torres, Michelle. 2018. “How Conditioning on Posttreatment Variables Can Ruin Your Experiment and What to Do about It.” American Journal of Political Science 62(3): 760-75.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Morton, Michael Quentin. 2013. Buraimi: The Struggle for Power, Influence and Oil in Arabia. London: I.B. Tauris.Google Scholar
Morton, Michael Quentin. 2016. Keepers of the Golden Shore: A History of the United Arab Emirates. London: Reaktion Books.Google Scholar
Mukoyama, Naosuke. 2020. “Colonial Origins of the Resource Curse: Endogenous Sovereignty and Authoritarianism in Brunei.” Democratization 27(2): 224-42.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Onley, James. 2009. “Britain and the Gulf Shaikhdoms, 1820–1971: The Politics of Protection.” Occasional Paper No. 4, Center for International and Regional Studies, Georgetown University School of Foreign Service in Qatar.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Paine, Jack. 2016. “Rethinking the Conflict ‘Resource Curse’: How Oil Wealth Prevents Center-Seeking Civil Wars.” International Organization 70(4): 727-61.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Paris, Timothy J. 2003. Britain, The Hashemite, and Arab Rule, 1920–1925: The Sherifian Solution. London: Frank Cass Publishers.Google Scholar
Pearl, Judea. 2000. Causality: Models, Reasoning, and Inference. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
Pearl, Judea, and Mackenzie, Dana. 2018. The Book of Why: The New Science of Cause and Effect. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
Ross, Michael. 2012. The Oil Curse: How Petroleum Wealth Shapes the Development of Nations. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Ross, Michael and Mahdavi, Paasha. 2015. “Oil and Gas Data, 1932–2014.” V.2. Harvard Dataverse. http://dx.doi.org/10.7910/DVN/ZTPW0Y.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Rutledge, Ian. 2014. Enemy on the Euphrates: The Battle for Iraq, 1914–1921 . London: Saqi.Google Scholar
Seawright, Jason. 2016. Multi-Method Social Science: Combining Qualitative and Quantitative Tools . Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Smith, Benjamin. 2017. “Resource Wealth as Rent Leverage: Rethinking the Oil-Stability Nexus.” Conflict Management and Peace Science 34(6): 597-617.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Spruyt, Hendrik. 1994. The Sovereign State and Its Competitors: An Analysis of Systems Change. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Tajir, Mahdi Abdallah Al-. 1987. Bahrain, 1920-1945: Britain, the Shaikh, and the Administration . London: Croon Helm.Google Scholar
Teitelbaum, Joshua. 2001. The Rise and Fall of the Hashemite Kingdom of Arabia. New York: New York University Press.Google Scholar
Tetreault, Mary Ann. 1991. “Autonomy, Necessity, and the Small State: Ruling Kuwait in the Twentieth Century.” International Organization 46(4): 565-91.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Tilly, Charles. 1990. Coercion, Capital, and European States, A.D. 990–1990. London: Blackwell.Google Scholar
Troeller, Gary. 2013. The Birth of Saudi Arabia: Britain and the Rise of the House of Sa’ud. New York: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Ulfelder, Jay. 2007. “Natural-Resource Wealth and the Survival of Autocracy.” Comparative Political Studies 40(8): 995-1018.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Waalkes, Scott Thomas. 1996. “International Institutions and State Formation Outcomes in Kuwait and Southwest Iran, 1899–1928 .” PhD dissertation, Department of Government and Foreign Affairs, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA.Google Scholar
Wiens, David, Poast, Paul, and Clark, William Roberts. 2014. “The Political Resource Curse: An Empirical Re-examination.” Political Research Quarterly 67(4): 783-94.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Wright, Joseph, Frantz, Erika, and Geddes, Barbara. 2015. “Oil and Autocratic Regime Survival.” British Journal of Political Science 45(2): 287-306.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Yapp, Malcolm. 1980. “British Policy in the Persian Gulf.” In The Persian Gulf States: A General Survey, ed. Cottrell, Alvin J., 70-99. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.Google Scholar
Zahlan, Rosemarie Said. 1978. The Origins of the United Arab Emirates: A Political and Social History of the Trucial States. New York: St. Martin’s Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Zahlan, Rosemarie Said 1979. The Creation of Qatar. London: Croon Helm.Google Scholar
Supplementary material: PDF

Waldner and Smith supplementary material

Waldner and Smith supplementary material

Download Waldner and Smith supplementary material(PDF)
PDF 356 KB
Supplementary material: Link

Waldner and Smith Dataset

Link
1
Cited by

Save article to Kindle

To save this article to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Survivorship Bias in Comparative Politics: Endogenous Sovereignty and the Resource Curse
Available formats
×

Save article to Dropbox

To save this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Dropbox account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Survivorship Bias in Comparative Politics: Endogenous Sovereignty and the Resource Curse
Available formats
×

Save article to Google Drive

To save this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Google Drive account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Survivorship Bias in Comparative Politics: Endogenous Sovereignty and the Resource Curse
Available formats
×
×

Reply to: Submit a response

Please enter your response.

Your details

Please enter a valid email address.

Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *