Pairing: USA vs Japan FIGHT!
October 16, 2011 § Leave a comment
Let’s say you want to study the relationship between economic inequality and attitude toward the self, with social hierarchy perhaps a common cause. “Attitude toward the self” isn’t well-defined and hard to measure, and there’s little multinational data. What you could do is try to directly compare two countries. You could pick the USA, a highly economically unequal society, and Japan, a relatively economically equal society (forget that Japan is highly hierarchical for the moment).
What else could result in American and Japanese attitudes differing?
- The US is much more multiracial than Japan
- The US is mostly Christian, Japan Buddhist and Shinto
- Japan has universal health insurance
- Japan lost the Second World War
- Evangelion was better in the original language
The most fundamental problem is sample size: even if you had identical twin countries, one pair ain’t enough. If you want to draw a strong conclusion from one pair, you need some strong qualitative arguments. If you want strong conclusions from quantitative data, you need quite a bit of data, and strong assumptions on top of that.