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WP Series » WP Series 2012

Koole, Karin and Barbara Vis. 2012. "Working Mothers and the State: Under Which Conditions do Governments Spend Much on Maternal Employment Supporting Policies?". COMPASSS WP Series 2012-71. Published online 19 June 2012.
Available from: http://www.compasss.org/wpseries/KooleVis2012.pdf.

Abstract: Over the last years, the level of spending on maternal employment supporting policies has risen in most countries. Still, the variation across governments in this level is substantial. Under which conditions do governments spend relatively much? Drawing on the critical mass literature, we argue that a critical mass of at least 15 per cent of women legislators is a necessary condition for high levels of spending on an important maternal employment supporting policy: parental leave benefits. We test this hypothesis with a fuzzy-set qualitative comparative analysis (fsQCA) of the governments from 12 OECD countries between 1980 and 2003 (n = 55). The analysis shows that a critical mass of women legislators is indeed a necessary condition for high levels of spending on parental leave benefits. This condition is not sufficient for high spending, though. We find that a critical mass is sufficient for high levels of spending when combined with leftist partisanship, economic growth and economic openness. These conditions are thus all INUS conditions: Insufficient but Non-redundant parts of an Unnecessary but Sufficient (combination of) condition. Additionally, we identify another route towards high spending in which a critical mass is combined with rightist partisanship, the absence of openness and corporatism. By assessing the influence of a critical mass of women in combination with other conditions on an important policy supporting the level of maternal employment, this study contributes to the comparative welfare state literature in general and the literature on new social risks in particular.

Pattyn, Valérie. 2012. "Why Organizations (do not) evaluate: A Search for Necessary and Sufficient Conditions". COMPASSS WP Series 2012-70. Published online 8 May 2012.
Available from: http://www.compasss.org/wpseries/Pattyn2012.pdf.

Abstract: The wide acceptance of evaluation in this evidence-based society might hide significant variation in the extent of evaluation activeness between public sector organizations. In explaining these differences, evidence is only fragmentally available. Admittedly, multiple explanatory factors can be identified in the evaluation community, mainly in the evaluation capacity building literature. Yet, common to the practical character of the field, insights are mainly of anecdotic nature and have seldom been systematically tested. Thus far, the only certainty is that "contingency" matters. The inherently contingent nature of evaluation practices may not discourage us, however, from collecting more systematic insight in explaining differences in the extent of evaluation activeness. It is not clear, indeed, to which degree the contingency reigns. The question is whether more parsimonious patterns can nonetheless be discerned, when attacking the complexity. The present paper takes up this challenge. Via a systematic comparison of 27 public sector organizations of the Flemish administration (Belgium) through the application of several configurational comparative techniques (MSDO/MDSO & csQCA), the analysis identifies a range of necessary and sufficient (combinations of) conditions for the (non)conduct of evaluations.

Fischer, Manuel. 2012. "Dominance or Challenge? An Explanation of Power Structures among Coalitions in Swiss Decision-Making Processes". COMPASSS WP Series 2012-69. Published online 26 April 2012.
Available from: http://www.compasss.org/wpseries/Fischer2012.pdf.

Abstract: This paper studies the conditions under which a given power distribution among coalitions of collective actors in political decision-making processes emerge. The distribution of power among actors is one of the basic dimensions of politics and is important because of its influence on the output of the decision-making processes. The paper distinguishes between ideal-types of power structures with a dominant coalition ("dominance") and structures with distributed power among several coalitions ("challenge"). It takes into account four conditions supposed to interact with each other, i.e. the degree of federalism of a policy project, its degree of Europeanization, its policy type (i.e. direct vs. indirect coercion), and the openness of the pre-parliamentary phase of the decision-making process. In order to assess the importance of these conditions, I compare the 11 most important decision-making processes in Switzerland between 2001 and 2006 by a Fuzzy-Set Qualitative Comparative Analysis (fsQCA). Results suggest that Europeanization or an open pre-parliamentary phase lead to a power structure of dominance, whereas only a specific combination of all four conditions is able to explain power structures of challenge. I argue that this is good news for the integration capacity of the Swiss political system.

Bader, Max. 2012. "Determinants of Electoral Malpractice in the Post-Soviet Area: A Fuzzy-Set Analysis". COMPASSS WP Series 2012-68. Published online 22 February 2012.
Available from: http:\\www.compasss.org\wpseries\Bader2012.pdf.

Abstract: Despite a generally significant degree of malpractice in elections in the post-Soviet area, the authorities of most post-Soviet states consistently invite the OSCE to observe the elections. Roughly since the turn of the century, assessment forms filled out by observers in forty-six elections have contained a standardized question about the quality of election-day procedures, allowing for a comparative study of electoral malpractice in the region. The paper performs a series of fuzzy-set analyses to come to a closer understanding of the conditions that lead to a high degree of malpractice in the post-Soviet area. In particular, the analysis scrutinizes five conditions that have previously been identified as relating to electoral malpractice in general or specifically in the post-Soviet area: the degree of competition in elections, the level of competitiveness in the political systems, the presence of OSCE observers, the presence of observers of the Commonwealth of Independent States, and disproportionality in the translation of votes into seats. The analysis suggests that elections with a relatively narrow margin of victory and elections held in a relatively competitive political environment tend to feature less electoral malpractice on election day. The analysis however fails to find conditions that are consistent with the outcome to a degree where it is reasonable to speak of sufficient or near- sufficient conditions, indicating that the circumstances that relate with electoral malpractice are highly diverse.


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