Ökologische Analyse (6000 Tote III)

5.771 mal zitiert: Robinson’s “Ecological Correlations and the Behavior of Individuals”

The relation between ecological and individual correlations which is discussed in this paper provides a definite answer as to whether ecological correlations can validly be used as substitutes for individual correlations. They cannot. While it is theoretically possible for the two to be equal, the conditions under which this can happen are far removed from those ordinarily encountered in data. From a practical standpoint, therefore, the only reasonable assumption is that an ecological correlation is almost certainly not equal to its corresponding individual correlation.
I am aware that this conclusion has serious consequences, and that its effect appears wholly negative because it throws serious doubt upon the validity of a number of important studies made in recent years. The purpose of this paper will have been accomplished, however, if it prevents the future computation of meaningless correlations and stimu- lates the study of similar problems with the use of meaningful correlations between the properties of individuals.