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Interactions in Generalized Linear Models: Theoretical Issues and an Application to Personal Vote-Earning Attributes


  • Tsung-han Tsai

    () (Department of Political Science, Washington University in St. Louis, One Brookings Drive, St. Louis,MO 63130-4899, USA)

  • Jeff Gill

    () (Department of Political Science, Division of Biostatistics, and Department of Surgery, Washington University in St. Louis, One Brookings Drive, St. Louis, MO 63130-4899, USA)


There is some confusion in political science, and the social sciences in general, about the meaning and interpretation of interaction effects in models with non-interval, non-normal outcome variables. Often these terms are casually thrown into a model specification without observing that their presence fundamentally changes the interpretation of the resulting coefficients. This article explains the conditional nature of reported coefficients in models with interactions, defining the necessarily different interpretation required by generalized linear models. Methodological issues are illustrated with an application to voter information structured by electoral systems and resulting legislative behavior and democratic representation in comparative politics.

Suggested Citation

  • Tsung-han Tsai & Jeff Gill, 2013. "Interactions in Generalized Linear Models: Theoretical Issues and an Application to Personal Vote-Earning Attributes," Social Sciences, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 2(2), pages 1-23, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:gam:jscscx:v:2:y:2013:i:2:p:91-113:d:25541

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Brambor, Thomas & Clark, William Roberts & Golder, Matt, 2006. "Understanding Interaction Models: Improving Empirical Analyses," Political Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 14(01), pages 63-82, December.
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    More about this item


    generalized linear models; interaction effects; first differences; personal vote-earning attributes;

    JEL classification:

    • A - General Economics and Teaching
    • B - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology
    • N - Economic History
    • P - Economic Systems
    • Y80 - Miscellaneous Categories - - Related Disciplines - - - Related Disciplines
    • Z00 - Other Special Topics - - General - - - General


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