Leaving Theory Behind: Why Too Much Hypothesis Testing is Bad for International Relations
Brown Bag Lunch
Series: International Security Brown Bag Seminar
Open to the Public - Allison Dining Room, Taubman Building-5th Floor
November 1, 2012
|Speakers:||Stephen M. Walt, Robert and Renée Belfer Professor of International Affairs; Faculty Chair, International Security Program|
|John J. Mearsheimer, R. Wendell Harrison Distinguished Service Professor of Political Science, University of Chicago|
Related Project: International Security
Theory creating and hypothesis testing are both important elements of social science. Unfortunately, in recent years the balance between theory creation/refinement and the testing of empirical hypotheses has shifted sharply toward the latter. This trend is unfortunate, because insufficient attention to theory can lead to misspecified models and overreliance on misleading measures of key concepts. In addition, the poor quality of much of the data in IR makes it less likely that these efforts will produce useful cumulative knowledge. The shift away from theory and towards hypothesis testing is due mostly to the professionalization of academia, and this trend is likely to continue unless there is a collective decision to alter prevailing academic incentives.
Please join us! Coffee and tea provided. Everyone is welcome, but admittance will be on a first come–first served basis.
ISP Program Coordinator
International Security Program, 79 John F. Kennedy St., Mailbox 53, Cambridge, MA 02138 USA
Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs
HARVARD Kennedy School