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WP Series » WP Series 2006

Marx, Axel. 2006. "Towards more Robust Model Specification in QCA Results from a Methodological Experiment". COMPASSS WP Series 2006-43. Published online 30 June 2006.
Available from: http:\\www.compasss.org\wpseries\Marx2006.pdf.

Abstract: Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) is a research technique which was developed by Charles C. Ragin and has been applied in several studies that appeared in major sociological journals. Recently, QCA has been criticized concerning the validity of the models it generates. Lieberson has hypothesized that QCA is unable to distinguish real from random data. In other words, it is argued that QCA always finds a model even on the basis of random data. The paper addresses this issue through a methodological experiment. It uses randomly created data-matrices to show that QCA can make a distinction between real and random data. However, it only does so under certain conditions namely when the proportion of variables on cases goes below a certain threshold, which differs as a function of the combination of variables on cases. Secondly, it argues that there is an upper-limit to the number of variables which can be used in a QCA-analysis. Both limiting conditions are the result of the problem of uniqueness which is a consequence of the use of Boolean algebra and have not yet been addressed in the literature. Five implications for comparative case research-design and QCA are discussed.

Vis, Barbara. 2006. "States of Welfare or States of Workfare? A Fuzzy-Set Ideal Type Analysis of Major Welfare State Restructuring in Sixteen Advanced Capitalist Democracies, 1985-2002". COMPASSS WP Series 2006-42. Published online 21 June 2006.
Available from: http:\\www.compasss.org\wpseries\Vis2006.pdf.
NB: Published in Policy & Politics

Abstract: Did welfare states change radically from welfare towards workfare or was such a shift absent and was welfare state change regime specific instead? This paper assesses this question for sixteen advanced capitalist democracies for the period 1985-2002, using an innovative method, fuzzy-set ideal type analysis. This study shows that the mainstream welfare state literature's prediction of no radical and regime specific change holds for most countries. The regulation literature's prediction of radical change from welfare towards workfare is supported fully only in Ireland and moderately in Denmark. Furthermore, interesting other patterns are revealed in six countries.

Dusa, Adrian. 2006. "QCA Graphical User Interface Manual". COMPASSS WP Series 2006-41. Published online 20 June 2006.
NB: an updated version is available as WP 2007-50.

Kvist, Jon. 2006. "Measuring the Welfare State - Concepts, Ideal Types and Fuzzy Sets in Comparative Studies". COMPASSS WP Series 2006-40. Published online 29 May 2006.
Available from: http:\\www.compasss.org\wpseries\Kvist2006.pdf.

Abstract: Is the glass half-empty? Is it more empty than full? Such questions are often linked to judgements which concern qualitative states and changes in degree and kind. Abound in comparative studies such judgements bring forward issues of how best to conceptualise and measure. In comparative studies of the welfare state they prompt reflections on what constitutes the welfare state, how to operationalize it and how to measure change over time and space. Comparative welfare state research has made significant progress in the theoretical understanding of the welfare state itself, not least due to a dialogue between qualitatively and quantitatively oriented studies (Amenta, 2003). Since 1990, when Gøsta Esping-Andersen published Three Worlds of Welfare Capitalism, a common starting point has been the distinction between different types of welfare state regimes: identifying a liberal, conservative and a social democratic welfare state regime. In short, diversity - the co-existence of similarities and differences - characterises different welfare states. Comparative research however has made much less progress in the measurement of welfare state and welfare state change. A lack of consensus about how to measure either is the main reason why scholars disagree on the direction and magnitude of recent change in social policy, i.e. whether reforms amount to fundamental or marginal change (Clayton and Pontusson, 1998 with Pierson, 1996, or Gilbert, 2002 with Kvist, 1999). This chapter offers an alternative approach to measurement and a very different strategy, that of formulating a new way of going about measurement by using fuzzy sets and axioms in fuzzy set theory. The aim is to advance the application of fuzzy set theory as a new method for conceptualisation and measurement (see Ragin, 2000 for a broad introduction to fuzzy set social science). I argue that the fuzzy set approach is particularly useful for assessing diversity and change across a limited set of cases, and that it can overcome some of the problems typically related to measurement validity and precision. In other words, using fuzzy sets help to assess whether the glass is half-full or half empty, or how, if at all, the welfare state is retrenched or restructured.

Schneider, Carsten and Bernard Grofman. 2006. "It Might Look like a Regression Equation... But it's Not! An Intuitive Approach to the Representation of QCA and FS/QCA Results". COMPASSS WP Series 2006-39. Published online 22 May 2006.
Available from: http:\\www.compasss.org\wpseries\SchneiderGrofman2006.pdf.

Abstract: Scholars who have presented their QCA and fs/QCA results in conference papers or journal articles will most likely have encountered the problem that an audience not trained in these approaches tends to read the notations and graphs displaying the results as if they stemmed from standard statistical techniques such as linear regression or factor analysis. This leads to gross misunderstandings, since the underlying mathematical models and the epistemology are different, and because the notations and graphs used in QCA und fs/QCA carry a different meaning than similar looking ones in standard statistical approaches. Thus readers may think they know what's going in QCA analyses when they really don't. The main aim of this paper is to offer seven ways, some new to this paper, of presenting results in QCA and fs/QCA that are designed to make the interpretability of results from these methods clearer and more intuitive: (1) truth tables; (2) solution formulas; (3) parameters of fit; (4) Venn diagrams; (5) dendograms; (6) x-y plots; and (7) membership scores for solution terms - the latter two only appropriate for fuzzy set QCA. We show that each form tends to be confused with one or more presentational forms commonly used in standard statistical techniques, its "false friend(s)", and thus misinterpreted; and so we try to clarify the implications of each of these presentational tools by pointing out what they do not mean. Generally speaking, the presentation of results generated with any kind of method applied in comparative social research has multiple purposes, not all of which can always be achieved simultaneously in one presentational form. In grosso modo, the presentation of results aims at: (a) displaying relations between variables; (b) highlighting descriptive or causal accounts for specific (groups of) cases; (c) expressing the fit of the result obtained with the data at hand. Trying to accomplish all three of these purposes is particularly important for QCA and fs/QCA because they have been explicitly introduced as methods for bridging the gap between qualitative (case-oriented) and quantitative (variableoriented) approaches of social scientific research. While the individual presentational forms serve one or more (but never all) of the three above-mentioned purposes, using a combination of them in a fashion that covers all three bases allows us to display the full potential and logic of QCA and fs/QCA methods.

Bochsler, Daniel. 2006. "Electoral engineering and inclusion of ethnic groups: Ethnic minorities in parliaments of Central and Eastern European countries". COMPASSS WP Series 2006-38. Published online 15 February 2006.
Available from: http:\\www.compasss.org\wpseries\Bochsler2006.pdf.

Abstract: Inter-ethnic fire was set in many countries in Central and Eastern Europe after the breakdown of the communist regimes. This resulted in discrimination of groups of citizens and in violent conflicts. An important aspect of power-sharing regimes and of the discrimination or integration of minority groups is the way, in which parliaments are elected. Parliamentary elections may accelerate the flames - or they may be attempts to extinguish them. To a certain degree, the elections' success in fire extinguishing relies on the electoral systems. In this article, I shall test if electoral systems are favourable to ethnic minority integration. For that purpose, I explore three questions: 1. Do they enable ethnic minority parties to gain representation in parliament? 2. Do they allow a plurality amongst ethnic minority parties? 3. Do they support a policy of conciliation by giving incentives to vote for mixed-ethnic parties? Or do they on the contrary hinder their success? My empirical test on a database covering 106 ethnic minorities in Central and European countries confirms the importance of electoral laws for the representation of ethnic minority parties. More concretely, my tests using the Qualitative Comparative Approach (QCA) show that if proportional electoral systems are amended with high national thresholds, even medium-sized territorially concentrated ethnic minorities are excluded from parliament. And any kind of plurality of singlemember district systems may be poison for the representation of not-concentrated minorities and exclude local minorities.

Mahoney, James and Gary Goertz. 2006. "A Tale of Two Cultures: Contrasting Quantitative and Qualitative Research". COMPASSS WP Series 2006-37. Published online 30 January 2006.
Available from: http:\\www.compasss.org\wpseries\MahoneyGoertz2006.pdf.

Abstract: The quantitative and qualitative research traditions can be thought of as distinct cultures marked by different practices, beliefs, and norms. In this essay, we adopt this imagery toward the end of contrasting these research traditions across ten areas: (1) approaches to explanation, (2) conceptions of causation, (3) multivariate explanations, (4) equifinality, (5) scope and causal generalization, (6) case selection, (7) weighting observations, (8) substantively important cases, (9) lack of fit, and (10) concepts and measurement. We suggest that an appreciation of the alternative assumptions and goals of the traditions can help scholars avoid misunderstandings and contribute to more productive "cross-cultural" communication in political science.

Jackson, Gregory. 2006. "Employee Representation in the Board Compared: A Fuzzy Sets Analysis of Corporate Governance, Unionism, and Political Institutions". COMPASSS WP Series 2006-36. Published online 27 January 2006.
Available from: http:\\www.compasss.org\wpseries\Jackson2006.pdf.
NB: Published in Industrielle Beziehungen, see bibliography

Abstract: Why do employees have rights to representation within corporate boards in some countries, but not in others? Board-level codetermination is widely considered a distinctive feature of coordinated or nonliberal models of capitalism. Existing literature stresses three sets of explanations for codetermination rooted in corporate governance, union strength and political systems. The paper compares data from 22 OECD countries using the QCA method (Qualitative Comparative Analysis) and fuzzy sets approach to explore necessary and sufficient conditions for board-level codetermination. The results show two central pathways toward codetermination both rooted primarily in union coordination and consensual political systems, but with divergent implications for corporate governance systems in Scandinavia and Germany.


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