The Potential for Disentangling Long Run, Medium Term and Shorter Term Policy Influences using Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) Techniques: an analysis of family policy in the OECD.
2016-03-07T18:45:20Z (GMT) by
Presentation to the 2015 UK Social Policy Association Conference, Belfast, 6th-8th July 2015. <div><br></div><div> <div> <div> <div> <p>Abstract </p> <p>A good deal of the comparative welfare state literature is embedded – with varying degrees of explicitness – in an historical institutional perspective that regards each country’s social policies as rooted in long term, path dependent, welfare regimes. At the same time, the relatively recent explosion in the availability of statistical information about national policy frameworks and socio-political-economic contexts they operate in has facilitated a growth in sophisticated quantitative work that, even with the most sophisticated methods, often downplays the importance of longer term influences, if only because few comparative datasets offer information stretching back more than 20 years. Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) techniques have – not without controversy – begun to play a larger role in comparative social policy analyses in recent years and while they hold the potential for combining historically rooted qualitative knowledge with contemporary quantitative data, an acknowledged weakness of QCA techniques is they often omit any consideration of time. This paper builds on small number of contributions to the QCA literature that take time seriously, developing a three-step QCA approach in order to analyse the influence of socio- political-economic and historical-institutional factors on the development of family in the OECD. Specifically, it explores how far we an usefully distinguish the influence of: (i) long term historical-institutional factors (i.e. welfare regimes); (ii) medium term societal values; and, (iii) shorter term political and economic factors. In doing so, it explores some of the advantages and disadvantages of using such an approach over more established quantitative or case study based approaches; it concludes there are some advantages to using a QCA inspired approach but notes there are major limitations in so doing too.</p> </div> </div> </div></div>