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WP Series » WP Series 2004

Marx, Axel and Hans Peeters. 2004. "Win for Life: An Empirical Exploration of the Social Consequences of Introducing a Basic Income". COMPASSS WP Series 2004-29. Published online 22 December 2004.
Available from: http:\\www.compasss.org\wpseries\MarxPeeters2004.pdf.

Abstract: The aim of this paper is twofold. First of all, the paper discusses why, how, and to what extent, natural experiments such as lotteries can contribute to research which empirically explores possible social consequences of the introduction of a Basic Income. The second aim is to focus on the question of what, if anything, happens after the introduction of a Basic Income. The paper is structured in three parts. The first part of the paper addresses the question of why natural experiments constitute an interesting research-strategy. Via a comparison with a genuine experiment a theoretical case is made to conduct lottery research, which has some distinctive strengths vis-à-vis an experiment. The second part of the paper discusses an ongoing pilot-project which investigates the consequences of winning the Belgian lottery game Win for Life (unconditional lifelong monthly allowance of 1.000 euro). It is assessed to what extent this game represents a good proxy for a Basic Income and what conclusions can be drawn from it. In addition, the results of a pilot-project are discussed using Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA). A specific issue of model-selection in a QCA-type of analysis is also addressed. In a third part, a proposal for the extension of lottery research is suggested.

Ragin, Charles. 2004. "From Fuzzy Sets to Crisp Truth Tables". COMPASSS WP Series 2004-28. Published online 7 December 2004.
Available from: http:\\www.compasss.org\wpseries\Ragin2004.pdf.
NB: Update of WP 2004-26.

Abstract: One limitation of the truth table approach is that it is designed for causal conditions are simple presence/absence dichotomies (i.e., Boolean or "crisp" sets). Many of the causal conditions that interest social scientists, however, vary by level or degree. For example, while it is clear that some countries are democracies and some are not, there are many in-between cases. These countries are not fully in the set of democracies, nor are they fully excluded from this set. Fortunately, there is a well-developed mathematical system for addressing partial membership in sets, fuzzy-set theory. Section 2 of this paper provides a brief introduction to the fuzzy-set approach, building on Ragin (2000). Fuzzy sets are especially powerful because they allow researchers to calibrate partial membership in sets using values in the interval between 0 (nonmembership) and 1 (full membership) without abandoning core set theoretic principles, for example, the subset relation. Ragin (2000) demonstrates that the subset relation is central to the analysis of multiple conjunctural causation, where several different combinations of conditions are sufficient for the same outcome.

Spreitzer, Astrid and Sakura Yamasaki. 2004. "Beyond Methodological Tenets - The Worlds of QCA and SNA and their Benefit to Policy Analysis". COMPASSS WP Series 2004-27. Published online 11 October 2004.
Available from: http:\\www.compasss.org\wpseries\SpreitzerYamasaki2004.pdf.

Abstract: The aim of this paper is to present combinations of Social Network Analysis (SNA) and Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) and their benefit to Policy Analysis. We think that QCA and SNA are particularly suited to explain complex macro-social phenomena, just like policies. SNA gives access to a set of actors and the relationships between them. The main goal is to model these relationships in order to study action and structure in their mutual dependence (Wasserman and Faust 1997). QCA on the other hand helps to uncover regularities across cases while maintaining within-case complexity; it offers "multiple conjunctural explanations" (Ragin 1987, 2003). First we expose our understanding of Policy Analysis and the problems research on the topic faces. The second part of the paper focuses on SNA and QCA as two approaches, which stand in between of the conventional qualitative/quantitative logic of research. Therefore we will explain the main principles of the methods but also show the communities of the two, the underlying meta-theoretical assumptions, the opportunities they offer to appear as supplementing to each other. Finally, it is to explore, how the combination of SNA and QCA helps to explain policies.

Ragin, Charles. 2004. "From Fuzzy Sets to Crisp Truth Tables". COMPASSS WP Series 2004-26. Published online 6 September 2004.
NB: an updated version is available as WP 2004-28.

Marx, Axel and Jan Dombrecht. 2004. "The Organisational Antecedents of Repetitive Strain Injuries: A Systematic Comparative Case Analysis of Assembly, Sorting and Packaging Jobs". COMPASSS WP Series 2004-25. Published online 26 August 2004.
NB: Published in Journal of Business Research, see bibliography.

Abstract: The paper presents a specific research-design - systematic comparative case analysis - to analyse the impact of organisational characteristics on individual level outcomes. A systematic comparative case analysis consists of an across case and within case analysis of a limited set of comparable cases. Across case analysis or Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) aims to identify similarities and differences between configurations of explanatory variables. Within case analysis aims to identify the causal mechanisms which link configurations to outcomes. Systematic comparative case analysis is applied to a research question on the organisational antecedents of repetitive strain injuries of the wrist in highly repetitive, non-fragmented and simple jobs. In total, 16 cases (each consisting on average of 15 workers) were analysed.

Fiss, Peer. 2004. "Towards a Set-theoretic Approach for Studying Organizational Configurations". COMPASSS WP Series 2004-24. Published online 3 August 2004.
NB: Published in Academy of Management Review; an updated version is available as WP 2005-30.

Abstract: I argue that research on organizational configurations has been limited by a mismatch between theory and methods. While configurational theory stresses nonlinearity, synergistic effects, and equifinality, empirical research has largely drawn on methods that assume linearity, additive effects, and unifinality. I introduce set-theoretic methods as a viable alternative for overcoming this mismatch. Set-theoretic methods conceptualize cases as combinations of attributes and use Boolean algebra to derive simplified expressions of combinations that lead to a specific outcome. I demonstrate the value of such methods for studying organizational configurations and discuss their applicability for examining equifinality and limited diversity among configurations.

Ragin, Charles and John Sonnett. 2004. "Between Complexity and Parsimony: Limited Diversity, Counterfactual Cases, and Comparative Analysis". COMPASSS WP Series 2004-23. Published online 10 July 2004.
Available from: http:\\www.compasss.org\wpseries\RaginSonnett2004.pdf.

Abstract: Counterfactual analysis has a long and distinguished history in comparative research. To some, counterfactual analysis is central to comparative inquiry because such research typically embraces only a handful of empirical cases (Fearon 1991). If there are only a few instances (e.g., of revolution), then researchers, of necessity, must compare empirical cases to hypothetical cases. The affinity between counterfactual analysis and comparative research, however, derives not from its focus on small Ns, but from its configurational nature. Case-oriented explanations of outcomes are often combinatorial in nature, stressing specific configurations of causal conditions. Rather than focus on the net effects of causal conditions, case-oriented explanations emphasize their combined effects. To support an argument emphasizing combinations of causal conditions, it is necessary for researchers to compare cases that are closely matched with each other. The ideal comparison is between pairs of cases that differ on only one causal condition (Mill 1843). Such comparisons help researchers establish whether or not a specific causal condition is a integral part of the combination of conditions that generates the outcome in question. It is very difficult to match empirical cases in this manner, however, due to the limited diversity of empirical social phenomena. In this paper, we discuss the impact of limited diversity on comparative case-oriented research. We show how limited diversity is conceived in Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA; see Ragin 1987, 2000), and link QCA strategies for addressing limited diversity to counterfactual analysis. We distinguish two kinds of counterfactual cases, "difficult" and "easy", and demonstrate procedures for incorporating "simplifying assumptions" into QCA based on the analysis of "easy" counterfactual cases. We illustrate these methods with comparative data on international fishing regimes collected by Olav Schram Stokke (2004).

Goertz, Gary and Jack Levy. 2004. "Causal Explanations, Necessary conditions, and Case Studies". COMPASSS WP Series 2004-22. Published online 2 June 2004.
NB: an updated version is available as WP 2005-31.

Abstract: In our discussion of causation in this chapter we make no attempt to survey the ways a given event can be an important cause. We focus on necessary conditions as a particular kind of important cause. Necessary conditions are important causes because they directly imply a key counterfactual: If X had not been present/occurred then the Cold War would not have ended. A probabilistic version is that if X had not occurred then the end of Cold War would have been very unlikely. It turns out that this rather simple causal strategy has wide-spread ramifications for explaining individual events. We first take a look at simple necessary condition explanations and their intimate connection with counterfactuals. However, necessary conditions also play an essential role in multivariate explanations of events as well. For example, one frequently reads about historical chains of events. If we take this metaphor seriously then each "link" is a necessary condition factor: break one link and the chain is broken.

Nelson, Kenneth. 2004. "The Last Resort. Determinants of Generosity of Means-Tested Minimum Income Protection in Welfare Democracies". COMPASSS WP Series 2004-21. Published online 25 May 2004.
Available from: http:\\www.compasss.org\wpseries\Nelson2004.pdf.

Abstract: This study evaluates institutional linkages between different types of social security programs in eighteen welfare states in the early 1990s. The purpose is to analyze the determinants of cross-national variations in the level of minimum income protection. Three hypotheses of an institutional relationship between social insurance and the generosity of minimum income protection are tested by means of OLS-regression, qualitative comparative analysis and fuzzy set analysis. From an economic point of view it is hypothesized that the impact of social insurance on the generosity of minimum income protection is mediated through its effects on the costs for means-tested benefits. From a political perspective, the hypothesis is that this impact derives from the degree to which social policies promote cross-class interests in support for the welfare state. Finally, from a strictly institutional perspective, the hypothesis is that social insurance sets certain upper limits to the level of means-tested benefits, which determine the possibilities of raising the value of minimum income protection. The empirical analyses show that not all aspects of social insurance are of equal importance in explaining cross-national variations in the level of minimum income protection. The most important aspect seems to be the degree to which social insurance provides income security, which supports the middle-class inclusion hypothesis on institutional dependencies between different tiers of the social security system.

Cronqvist, Lasse. 2004. "Presentation of TOSMANA. Adding Multi-Value Variables and Visual Aids to QCA". COMPASSS WP Series 2004-20. Published online 15 April 2004.
Available from: http:\\www.compasss.org\wpseries\Cronqvist2004.pdf.
NB: Update of WP 2003-14.

Abstract: In this presentation the TOSMANA (Tool for Small-N Analysis) software is described. TOSMANA is a tool for case-based comparative analysis, implementing existing techniques as Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) as well as new approaches for macro-qualitative comparative analysis. The different parts of TOSMANA are explained and some ideas on further development are introduced.

Goertz, Gary and James Mahoney. 2004. "Two-Level Theories and Fuzzy Sets". COMPASSS WP Series 2004-19. Published online 30 January 2004.
Available from: http:\\www.compasss.org\wpseries\GoertzMahoney2004.pdf.
NB: Update of WP 2003-6.

Abstract: Two-level theories explain outcomes with causal variables at two levels of analysis that are systematically related to one another. Although many prominent scholars in the field of comparative analysis have developed two-level theories, the empirical and methodological issues that these theories raise have yet to be investigated. In this article, we explore different structures of two-level theories and consider the issues involved in testing these theories with fuzzy-set methods. We show that grasping the overall structure of two-level theories requires both specifying the particular type of relationship (i.e., causal, ontological, or substitutable) that exists between and within levels of analysis and specifying the logical linkages between levels in terms of necessary and sufficient conditions. We argue that for the purposes of testing these theories fuzzy-set analysis provides a powerful set of tools. However, to realize this potential, investigators using fuzzy-set methods must be clear about the two-level structure of their theories from the onset. We illustrate these points through an empirical, fuzzy-set test of Skocpol's States and Social Revolutions.

Mahoney, James and Gary Goertz. 2004. "The Possibility Principle: Choosing Negative Cases in Comparative Research". COMPASSS WP Series 2004-18. Published online 30 January 2004.
Available from: http:\\www.compasss.org\wpseries\MahoneyGoertz2004.pdf.
NB: Update of WP 2003-8.

Abstract: A central challenge in qualitative research involves selecting the "negative" cases (e.g., nonrevolutions, nonwars) to be included in analyses that seek to explain positive outcomes of interest (e.g., revolutions, wars). Although it is widely recognized that the selection of negative cases is consequential for theory testing, methodologists have yet to formulate specific rules to inform this selection process. In this paper, we propose a principle - the Possibility Principle - that provides explicit, rigorous, and theoretically-informed guidelines for choosing a set of negative cases. The Possibility Principle advice researchers to select only negative cases where the outcome of interest is possible. Our discussion elaborates this principle and its implications for current debates about case selection and strategies of theory testing. Major points are illustrated with substantive examples from studies of revolution, economic growth, welfare states, and war.


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