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Causality in the Sciences$
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Phyllis McKay Illari, Federica Russo, and Jon Williamson

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199574131

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199574131.001.0001

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Causal explanation: Recursive decompositions and mechanisms

Causal explanation: Recursive decompositions and mechanisms

(p.317) 15 Causal explanation: Recursive decompositions and mechanisms
Causality in the Sciences

Michel Mouchart

Federica Russo

Oxford University Press

This chapter deals with causal explanation in quantitative‐oriented social sciences. In the framework of statistical modelling, we first develop a formal structural modelling approach which is meant to shape causal explanation. Recursive decomposition and exogeneity are given a major role for explaining social phenomena. Then, based on the main features of structural models, the recursive decomposition is interpreted as a mechanism and exogenous variables as causal factors. Arguments from statistical methodology are first offered and then submitted to critical evaluation.

Keywords:   structural modelling, mechanism, recursive decomposition, exogeneity

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