Journal Article
A Graphical Approximation to Generalization

Definitions and Diagrams

The fundamental problem of external validity is not to generalize from one experiment, so much as to experimentally test generalizable theories. That is, theories that explain the systematic variation of causal effects across contexts. Here we show how the graphical language of causal diagrams can be used in this endeavour. Specifically we show how generalization is a causal problem, how a causal approach is more robust than a purely predictive one, and how causal diagrams can be adapted to convey partial parametric information about interactions.

Journal Article This peer-reviewed research is available free of charge. UNU-WIDER believes that research is a global public good and supports Open Access.