The Potential of Spatial Statistical Analysis in the Assessment of Social Processes

Okunev, Igor Yur’evich
PhD in Political Sciences, Director of the Center for Spatial Analysis in International Relations at the Institute for International Studies, MGIMO University, Moscow, Russia

Everyone is well aware that the closer you are to the patient, the higher the likelihood of getting infected from him. This knowledge manifests an intuitive understanding of the fundamental law of being—its spatio-temporal organization. Many political and socio-economic phenomena actually spread according to the same laws as the epidemic of the disease. For example, it has been proven that people vote more actively for a candidate in neighboring districts with those in which he campaigned, or that the appearance of a wealthy settlement increases the welfare of neighboring ones. So, it is the spatial connections between objects that become in geography explaining phenomena. For example, it would be wrong to say that democracy is possible only in a small state, while the hypothesis that democracy is more likely in a country surrounded by democracies is quite valid. The basic hypothesis of geography is that the spatial organization of the Earth predetermines the territorial arrangement of objects on its surface. Far from always, however, this is exactly the case, the nature of the territorial alignment of political forces (both at the international and domestic levels) is influenced by many other factors, in addition to the spatial organization of the planet, formed by nature, society and man. To understand the extent to which the hypothesis of geography is correct and capable of explaining natural and social processes is the goal of geographical research.

Keywords: spatial analysis, spatial statistical analysis, spatial econometrics, political geography, human geography
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