Testing Olson: Some Statistical Problems

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This discussion concerns a number of methodological difficulties in essays by Clark Nardinelli, Myles S. Wallace and John T. Warner and by Erich Weede in testing some ideas of Mancur Olson to explain the differential economic growth of nations. A critical problem is the selection of proxy variables to measure the strength and encompassing nature of interest groups. A number of other problems including the selection of the sample and the nature of the test are also designated. The basic conclusion is that we are far from a satisfactory test of Olson's ideas.