T10P05 - Methodological Advances in Policy Studies and Comparative Public Policy

Topic : Methodologies

Panel Chair : Christine Rothmayr Allison - christine.rothmayr.allison@umontreal.ca

Panel Second Chair : Isabelle Engeli - isabelle.engeli@uottawa.ca

Panel Third Chair : Eric Montpetit - e.montpetit@umontreal.ca

Objectives and Scientific Relevance of the panel

Globalisation and regional integration have increased complexity and interdependence, waves of democratization and the growing number of emerging countries have enlarged possibilities of comparison. Parallel to these developments, the debate on methods in public policy analysis has evolved too.

This panel aims at discussing the current state of development in comparative policy studies from a methodological point of view by focusing on these and other recent methodological innovations and their application to policy studies, and in particular in comparative policy studies. All these methods are confronted with a number of challenges specific to comparative public policy, such as case selection, the definition of the dependent variable, the availability of data, concept stretching and comparability of available, often aggregate, data. The paper in this panel will identify the challenges specific to recent methodological advances for comparative policy studies and offer an assessment of the current state of application of recent methodological innovations in the field. Furthermore, the panel aims at discussing how to address these challenges and contribute to further strengthen research designs in policy studies and in comparative public policy.

Call for papers

This panel aims at discussing the current state of development in policy studies  -- in particular in comparative public policy -- from a methodological point of view by focusing on recent methodological innovations and their application in policy studies and comparative policy studies. Globalisation and regional integration have increased complexity and interdependence, waves of democratization and the growing number of emerging countries have enlarged possibilities of comparison. Parallel to these developments, the debate on methods in public policy analysis has evolved too. First of all, case studies have occupied a prominent place in comparative policy studies. Instead of considering case studies as a ‘by default’ comparison when research resources for a large-N are lacking, process tracing offers a meaningful tool to enhance theory building and, to a certain extent, theory testing in policy studies. From single and small-N comparisons, comparative policy studies have moved on to the issue of intermediate-N comparison with the development of qualitative comparative analysis and fuzzy sets in order to benefit from the complexity of each case while enhancing the generalization across cases. With the increased availability and accessibility of policy-relevant quantitative data, large-N studies are also becoming more prominent in comparative policy analysis. All these methods are confronted with a number of challenges specific to policy studies and comparative public policy, such as case selection, the definition of the dependent variable, the availability of data, concept stretching and comparability of available, often aggregate, data. The paper in this panel will identify the challenges specific to recent methodological advances for policy studies and comparative policy analysis and offer an assessment of the current state of application of recent methodological advances in the field. Furthermore, the panel aims at discussing how to address these challenges and intends to contribute to further strengthening research designs in comparative public policy.

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