American Anthropologist

Correlational Analysis of Murdocks 1957 Ethnographic Sample1


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    We should like to express our thanks to Charles Starnes and Gerald Slatin, who assisted creatively in the statistical analysis upon which this article is based.


This paper parallels that of Sawyer and LeVine (1966) in some respects: it reduces Murdock's 210 categories to 30 variables, and intercorrelates and factor-analyzes the variables for the six world subdivisions as well as for the entire world. Differences from Sawyer's and LeVine's treatment include the use of Cramér's coefficient to compare all categories, the opposition of the modal category to the others to produce the 30 dichotomous variables, use of the phi coefficient, the testing of the correlations within each of the six areas for significant differences between areas, a different technique for measuring the amount of similarity between areas, a section on factor analysis as a method, and a section contrasting and interpreting correlations in the two areas that differed the most, North America and the Circum-Mediterranean.