Quantitative discursive institutionalism: a comparison of labour market policy discourse across Western Europe
Calls for more generalizable empirical examinations rank among the top priorities of discursive institutionalists. However, there are hardly any approaches that address the specific challenges of such examinations with regard to the systematic comparison of public discourses across countries. This contribution first develops a methodological framework for a comprehensive study of public discourse and subsequently applies it to study labour market policy discourse in six Western European countries from 2004 until 2006. Subsequently, the frame analysis shows that ideas brought forward in these public discourses relate to the three major concepts identified by the comparative political economy literature: corporatism; neoliberalism; and compensation. Furthermore, the findings corroborate the expectations derived from the discursive institutionalist literature, since the salience of the frames does systematically vary according to the institutional legacies of the countries, as well as to the interests of the actors involved.