Marginal Effects in Interaction Models: Determining and Controlling the False Positive Rate

Justin Esarey, Jane Lawrence Sumner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations

Abstract

When a researcher suspects that the marginal effect of (Formula presented.) on (Formula presented.) varies with (Formula presented.), a common approach is to plot (Formula presented.) at different values of (Formula presented.) along with a pointwise confidence interval generated using the procedure described in Brambor, Clark, and Golder to assess the magnitude and statistical significance of the relationship. Our article makes three contributions. First, we demonstrate that the Brambor, Clark, and Golder approach produces statistically significant findings when (Formula presented.) at a rate that can be many times larger or smaller than the nominal false positive rate of the test. Second, we introduce the interactionTest software package for R to implement procedures that allow easy control of the false positive rate. Finally, we illustrate our findings by replicating an empirical analysis of the relationship between ethnic heterogeneity and the number of political parties from Comparative Political Studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1144-1176
Number of pages33
JournalComparative Political Studies
Volume51
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1 2018

Keywords

  • interaction
  • political parties
  • quantitative methods

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