Call for Papers: 'T11P02 - Case-Oriented and Set - Theoretic Approaches to Comparative Policy Analysis' at the 4th ICPP conference in Montreal, Canada from 26th to 28th June 2019.

The policy process is characterized by a considerable degree of complexity regarding institutional settings, actor and preference constellations, policy goals, contents, and tools. Simultaneously, there is a practical demand for better knowledge of “what works” in public policies and under what conditions or in what contexts. In order to better match methods with theories and empirical realities, the analysis of public policies faces several challenging tasks (Brans and Pattyn 2017). First, it needs to model the complexity that characterizes the policy process and trace the underlying mechanisms. Second, comparative policy analysis detects regularities and achieves a modest degree of generalization. Finally, comparative policy analysis often deals with small or intermediate numbers of cases.

 Case-oriented and set-theoretic approaches to comparative policy analysis, such as Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA), Coincidence Analysis (CNA), explanatory typologies, and comparative process tracing, are designed to address these challenges. Situated within a “critical realist” paradigm of social research (Gerrits and Verweij 2013), they model different aspects of causal complexity, such as configurations of different factors leading to policy outputs or outcomes, equifinality (multiple configurations can result in the same outcome), contextual contingencies, and causal asymmetry. Moreover, they can be applied within a variety of small-N or large-N research approaches to evaluate as well as generate theories through a combination of systematic comparison with targeted in-depth case studies (Thomann and Maggetti 2017). As interactive and iterative methods, they also lend themselves to interpretative comparative analysis (Brans and Pattyn, 2017).

 Set-theoretic and case-oriented methods are increasingly common in comparative policy analysis (see e.g. Rihoux et al. 2011; Thomann 2019), particularly in policy implementation and evaluation research (Gerrits and Verweij 2018; Pattyn et al. 2017). This panel gathers both theoretical, conceptual, and empirical contributions that deal with the state of the art of case-oriented and set-theoretic approaches and illustrate their potential and limitations to contribute to the theory and practice of policy analysis.

To submit a paper visit the IPPA website here