ecological fallacy


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ecological fallacy

or

wrong-level fallacy

the error of inferring that relationships established between two or more variables measured at an AGGREGATE level will also hold at the individual level. Care must be taken in research studies which use areas as the unit of analysis to avoid this error. For example, if an area is found to have a high percentage of unemployment and a high percentage of mental illness, any inference of a causal relationship at the individual level would be invalid. The problem is discussed in Robinson (1951) and Riley (1963).
References in periodicals archive ?
If the ecological fallacy is at work here, most likely it occurs with the square of admissions--larger states, regardless of income, may have higher hospital costs than smaller ones.
Along the same lines, the authors show that the now-hackneyed observation that blue states are richer than red states rests on an ecological fallacy.
It seems that there may be ecological fallacy at play here.
To see the ecological fallacy at work, picture fans doing "the wave" at a football stadium.
In particular, Professors Gill and Katz committed what is referred to as the ecological fallacy in making inferences about a particular individual's voting behavior using only information about the average behavior of groups; in this case, voters assigned to a particular precinct.
The ecological fallacy, the drawing of inferences about individuals based on aggregate level data, was discovered over 50 years ago but is still present in a surprising number of commonly employed marketing and advertising research tools.
I found it odd that King did not test his method on the most famous example of the ecological fallacy (though he uses another empirical example from Robinson's paper).
Using aggregate data to infer individual actions is commonly referred to as the ecological fallacy.
The ecological fallacy was brought to the fore by Robinson (1950).
In this movement from the individual to the group level, Hirschhorn may be making the ecological fallacy, applying intrapsychic constructs to explain group- and organization-level phenomena.

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