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Abdellatif, Mahamat. 2011. "Le Contrôle des Filiales à l'Étranger: Une Analyse de la Mobilité des Cadres selon le Risque Pays Perçu." Revue Française de Gestion 37 (3):157-70.
Abstract: Cette contribution étudie les facteurs potentiels d'une forte/faible présence de cadres expatriés au sein des filiales françaises à l'étranger, et particulièrement l'influence du risque pays perçu. Nos résultats suggèrent que les multinationales françaises étudiées envoient plus d'expatriés vers les marchés émergents à risque fort. En revanche, à destination des pays perçus à faible risque, elles transfèrent moins d'expatriés et privilégient le «commuting».
Abell, Peter. 1990. "Supporting Industrial Cooperatives in Developing Countries: Some Tanzanian Experiences." Economic and Industrial Democracy 11 (4):483-504.
Abstract: This paper draws upon both case-study and statistical materials, gathered in Tanzania, in an attempt to determine how industrial producer cooperatives might be promoted. A logistic pattern of cooperative growth is tested and found to dominate a view that the number of coops grows because of support organizations. Drawing upon an ecological model it is suggested that the factor which limits growth is the availability of management and, further, that the growth of the competing 'small-scale sector' is at the expense of the cooperative sector. Management nurtured in the cooperative sector moves into the small-scale sector. Case-study analysis using a Boolean analysis suggests that legitimate and capable management are essential to success of cooperatives particularly with technologies which generate production interdependencies. Finally, supporting evidence for the significance of management competence and interdependence in explaining performance is outlined using an augmented CobbDouglas production function framework.
Achilov, Dilshod, and Renat Shaykhutdinov. 2013. "State Regulation of Religion and Radicalism in the Post-Communist Muslim Republics." Problems of Post-Communism 60 (5):17-33.
Abstract: Analysis of state regulation of Islam in post-communist states shows that tolerant policies are associated with lower levels of religious radicalism, whereas restrictive policies appear to exacerbate the level of extremism.
Ackrén, Maria, and Pär M. Olausson. 2008. "Condition(s) for Island Autonomy." International Journal on Minority and Group Rights 15 (2-3):227-58.
Abstract: The inquiry is focusing on why island autonomy occurs. Our point of departure considers four possible conditions such as geographical distance, ethnicity, GDP/capita and size according to population leading towards island autonomy. We use two sample groups in our study: one encompassing autonomous islands deriving from different parts of the world, with three main islands illustrating what we mean by island autonomy. These consist of the Azores, the Faroe Islands and Isle of Man. The second group consists of so called non-autonomous islands scattered around the world. The analysis is carried out with a specific technique within the Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) family and that is Multi-Value QCA (MVQCA). MVQCA is an extension of the Crisp-Set QCA (CSQCA) and withholds a dichotomous dependent variable, while the possible explanatory variables (independent variables) can have multi-values. As a second technique Fuzzy-Set QCA (FSQCA) is employed as a control technique only. While assessing these techniques we receive combinations of conditions leading to the outcome in question. Results show that with MVQCA we receive four different paths towards island autonomy. Ethnicity as the only explanation is one route towards the outcome. A second path is small or large size. Long geographical distance combined with no ethnic diversity is a third way towards island autonomy. The fourth path is long geographical distance combined with the lower or upper middle income group. All the paths are equally valid.
Adhikari, Prakash, and Steven Samford. 2013. "The Nepali State and the Dynamics of the Maoist Insurgency." Studies in Comparative International Development 48 (4):457-81.
Abstract: In contrast to existing quantitative studies of the civil conflict in Nepal, we argue that combinations of motive and opportunity were crucial for the development of the Maoist insurgency and that these conditions stem largely from the nature of the Nepali state. The decade-long insurgency was characterized by two distinct dynamics. In the initiation period of the war (1996-2000), the insurgency was driven largely by newly enabled Maoist organizers capitalizing on the caste, ethnic, and economic divisions that had been codified over time by autocratic state-building efforts. In the more violent and geographically widespread maturation period of the war (2001-2006), the insurgency depended less on historical grievances than on the motivation of rebels and sympathizers by the often-indiscriminate violence perpetrated by the besieged Nepali state. We provide empirical evidence for this argument in a narrative section that contextualizes the Maoist insurgency as well as in a fuzzy-set qualitative comparative analysis (fsQCA) of data for the 75 Nepali districts in the two periods of the insurgency. fsQCA allows for the assessment of how combinations of the largely state-generated motivations and opportunities affected the dynamics of the insurgency.
Aguilera-Caracuel, Javier, Eugenio M. Fedriani, and Blanca L. Delgado-Márquez. 2014. "Institutional Distance among Country Influences and Environmental Performance Standardization in Multinational Enterprises." Journal of Business Research 67 (11):2385-92.
Abstract: This research compares and contrasts the findings in Aguilera-Caracuel et al. (2013) with the outcomes of applying fuzzy-set qualitative comparative analysis (fsQCA) - a methodological strategy that gathers quantitative and qualitative information to explain complexity at the case level and generality across cases. Using the same sample of 128 multinational enterprises (MNEs) with headquarters and subsidiaries based in the USA, Canada, France, and Spain, we identify a set of relevant configurations of causes and conditions to explain environmental performance standardization. By avoiding separate treatments for each variable, which is typical in multiple regression analysis (MRA), we overcome prior limitations and propose a new way of understanding this phenomenon. In summary, our results significantly reinforce and complement the previous results.
Ahn, Sang-Hoon, and Sophia Seung-yoon Lee. 2012. "Explaining Korean Welfare State Development with New Empirical Data and Methods." Asian Social Work and Policy Review 6 (2):67-85.
Abstract: Selecting Korea as one of the conceptually classified East Asian welfare states, this paper aims to empirically investigate the determinants of Korean welfare state development. Linking the research question with the lively discussion on welfare state in Korea that is taking place domestically, this paper also aims to examine whether the development of the Korean welfare state has been influenced by politics of the left or by industrialization with functionalistic perspectives. We conduct an analysis first by regression analysis and then fuzzy-set qualitative comparative analysis (fsQCA) to examine the conditions of such development. A Korean Welfare State Dataset (KWSD) has been newly included in the Comparative Welfare State Dataset (CWSD) and we used this new dataset for our empirical analysis. Our empirical findings suggest that, at least up to the current point, factors other than economic development or industrialization are not robust enough to make a claim of a take-off of the Korean welfare state from its developmental stage. However, we also notice the influence of the left government and suggest that it is legitimate to expect an innovative change in the path of the Korean welfare state once the power resource theory is applicable.
Alam, Arshad, and Prabir K. Bagchi. 2013. "Supply Chain Capability of Countries and its Effect on Foreign Direct Investment: A Fuzzy-Set Analysis." International Journal of Logistics Economics and Globalisation 5 (1):59-80.
Abstract: International plant location decisions have acquired relevance in a globalised economy and evidence suggests that the overall production and logistics environment of a country would have a bearing on foreign direct investment (FDI). This study attempts to analyse the impact of the production and logistics environment on incoming FDI. We introduce a new conceptual framework of supply chain capability (SCC) of countries and using the 'fuzzy-set analysis' methodology attempt to determine whether SCC is a necessary or sufficient cause for FDI flows. This study validates the basic proposition that supply chain capability of a country is a determinant of FDI. Further, the study suggests that the FDI attractiveness of a country is better explained by a combination of factors as reflected by the composite variable, SCC, than by individual constituent variables. This study offers insights to firm managers to evaluate various competing country environments, thus enabling them to make better strategic decisions about foreign investment.
Aleman, Jose. 2009. "The Politics of Tripartite Cooperation in New Democracies: A Multi-Level Analysis." International Political Science Review 30 (2):141-62.
Abstract: The literature on labor politics explains cooperation among unions, employers and state representatives in new democracies as a function of alliances between politically influential unions and left governments. This article introduces an original dataset of labor agreements in new democracies (1994-2004). Using Boolean analysis, it shows that while left governments are typically associated with more labor market regulation, they are not sufficient for social pacts to emerge in new democracies. Instead, protective labor market institutions and practices explain most instances of cooperation. Further analysis reveals this to be the case for all types of pacts analyzed.
Allen, Matthew M. C., and Maria L. Aldred. 2011. "Varieties of Capitalism, Governance, and High-Tech Export Performance: A Fuzzy-Set Analysis of the new EU Member States." Employee Relations 33 (4):334-55.
Abstract: Purpose: This paper aims to assess the extent to which convergence in institutional regimes is likely to occur, by examining all ten new EU member states in Central and Eastern Europe in terms of their development of comparative advantages in high-tech export markets either by drawing on foreign investors in the form of multinational companies or by making use of domestic institutional resources. Design/methodology/approach: The article uses fuzzy sets and qualitative comparative analysis to examine both necessary and sufficient causes of success in high-tech export markets. By doing so, it can address the important issue of institutional complementarity. Findings: While it finds that countries that have stronger records in such markets share common features, there are also important differences between them - not least in the areas of employee relations. This, together with other evidence presented in the paper, suggests that convergence around a specific institutional model is unlikely to happen. Originality/value: Analysing, unlike many previous studies, all ten new EU member states in Central and Eastern Europe enables conclusions to be drawn that apply to the whole region. The novel method used in this article means that the extent of any complementarity between different institutions can be addressed, and ensures that issues relating to convergence/divergence are explored. The article, therefore, contributes to a number of important debates on the convergence among types of capitalism, the dependency of the new EU member states on foreign investors, and the institutional foundations for success in high-tech export markets.
Allen, Matthew, and Maria L. Aldred. 2013. "Business Regulation, Inward Foreign Direct Investment, and Economic Growth in the New European Union Member States." Critical Perspectives on International Business 9 (3):301-21.
Abstract: Purpose: This paper assesses the extent to which institutional convergence has taken place in the new European Union member states. It does so by contrasting arguments that are inspired by transaction-cost economics within the mainstream international-business literature and contentions within the comparative-capitalisms perspective. A corollary of arguments within the former is that those countries that have less transparent ways of doing business will post poorer economic growth records than those with more predictable and less costly regulations. By contrast, contentions within the comparative capitalisms literature lead to expectations that a broader set of institutional factors will shape economic growth. Design/methodology/approach: The paper adopts a fuzzy-set qualitative comparative analysis approach to examine the necessary and sufficient causal conditions for economic growth in the region. Findings: There is a great deal of institutional diversity within the new EU member states in Central and Eastern Europe. There are no clusters of countries around a specific variety of capitalism or an economic model that has above-average economic growth rates and that is characterized by institutions that lower the costs of market transacting. This, in turn, suggests that convergence pressures are not as great as the mainstream international-business literature has argued. Research limitations/implications: Future research could complement this study by adopting a cross-country, comparative micro- or firm-level approach to examine the ways in which different institutional factors both individually and collectively shape the growth of businesses and, consequently, economies. Originality/value: Mainstream international business tends to focus on regulation and market-supporting institutions to explain growth in developing economies. This research has shown that a broader view of institutions needs to be adopted, as some countries have been able to post strong economic growth figures despite institutional environments that do not lower the costs of market-based contracting.
Allen, Matthew M. C., and Maria L. Allen. 2015. "Companies' Access to Finance, Co-operative Industrial Relations, and Economic Growth: A Comparative Analysis of the States of South Eastern Europe." Research in International Business and Finance 33 (0):167-77.
Abstract: This paper examines the links between corporate funding, co-operative industrial relations, and wage flexibility, on the one hand, and economic growth, on the other, in 11 countries in South Eastern Europe. These links have been downplayed in previous research. The paper draws on the most comprehensive and extensive dataset on these issues for the whole of the region. Previous research has focused on a selection of these countries. The paper uses a novel analytical technique, fuzzy set qualitative comparative analysis, to examine these possible associations. It finds that wage flexibility and co-operative labour relations can promote growth; the availability of different forms of domestic funding for firms does not. The findings indicate that policy makers may focus their efforts on promoting wage flexibility within a consensual industrial labour system if they wish to foster economic growth.
Alon, Sigal. 2007. "Overlapping Disadvantages and the Racial/Ethnic Graduation Gap among Students Attending Selective Institutions." Social Science Research 36 (4):1475-99.
Abstract: Using a configurational approach, I examine the extent to which the intersection between background attributes can account for racial and ethnic gaps in graduation likelihood among students attending elite institutions in the United States. The results, which are based on the College & Beyond database, demonstrate the compounding effect of multiple disadvantages on students' graduation likelihood, above and beyond the unique hardship associated with each background characteristic. Under-represented minority students are more likely to suffer from overlapping disadvantages than whites and Asians, but given similar constellations of disadvantages most minority students perform as well as whites. However, black students with overlapping disadvantages are slightly less likely to graduate than their white configuration-counterparts. About third of the overall race gap is attributed to the compounding effect of overlapping disadvantages on blacks' achievement. That black male students with overlapping disadvantages are the most vulnerable group of all reveals an intersection between gender, race and class.
Amenta, Edwin, Neal Caren, and Sheera Joy Olasky. 2005. "Age for Leisure? Political Mediation and the Impact of the Pension Movement on U.S. Old-Age Policy." American Sociological Review 70 (3):516-38.
Abstract: This article elaborates a political mediation theory of the impact of social movements on states and policy, positing that the influence of mobilization and specific strategies of collective action depends on specified political contexts and the type of influence sought. Examining the influence of the U.S. old-age pension movement, which involved millions of people, this article appraises the mediation model using state-level data from the 1930s and 1940s on Old Age Assistance-the main support for the aged at the time-and a Senate vote for generous senior citizens' pensions in 1939. Our models control for other potential influences, notably public opinion, which is often ignored in empirical studies and sometimes claimed to be responsible for causal influence mistakenly attributed to challengers. We employ pooled cross-sectional and time series analyses and fuzzy set qualitative comparative analysis (FSQCA), which is especially suited to appraising the combinational expectations of the political mediation model. Both sets of analyses show that the pension movement was directly influential on the outcomes and provide support for the political mediation arguments.
Amenta, Edwin, Neal Caren, Sheera J. Olasky, and James E. Stobaugh. 2009. "All the Movements Fit to Print: Who, What, When, Where, and Why SMO Families Appeared in the New York Times in the Twentieth Century." American Sociological Review 74 (4):636-56.
Abstract: Why did some social movement organization (SMO) families receive extensive media coverage? In this article, we elaborate and appraise four core arguments in the literature on movements and their consequences: disruption, resource mobilization, political partisanship, and whether a movement benefits from an enforced policy. Our fuzzy-set qualitative comparative analyses (fsQCA) draw on new, unique data from the New York Times across the twentieth century on more than 1,200 SMOs and 34 SMO families. At the SMO family level, coverage correlates highly with common measures of the size and disruptive activity of movements, with the labor and African American civil rights movements receiving the most coverage. Addressing why some movement families experienced daily coverage, fsQCA indicates that disruption, resource mobilization, and an enforced policy are jointly sufficient; partisanship, the standard form of "political opportunity," is not part of the solution. Our results support the main perspectives, while also suggesting that movement scholars may need to reexamine their ideas of favorable political contexts.
Amenta, Edwin, Bruce G. Carruthers, and Yvonne Zylan. 1992. "A Hero for the Aged: The Townsend Movement, the Political Mediation Model, and United-States Old-Age Policy, 1934-1950." American Journal of Sociology 98 (2):308-39.
Abstract: During the Depression, the Townsend movement enjoyed varied success in seeking pensions for the aged. Social-movement models predict that success depends on the mobilization of resources or on collective action. Other theories predict that economic or political conditions cause the emergence of movements and changes in public spending. The political mediation model used here holds that, to succeed, a movement must reinforce political action with strong organization of members under favorable political conditions. This article defines "success" and employs various analytical and empirical strategies, including qualitative comparative analysis on state-level data, to appraise the models. Although each perspective has some support, the political mediation model offers the best explanation of the patterns of successes. The state and the political party system determine whether mobilization and action benefit a constituency and win acceptance for a movement organization.
Amenta, Edwin, and Drew Halfmann. 2000. "Wage Wars: Institutional Politics, WPA Wages, and the Struggle for US Social Policy." American Sociological Review 65 (4):506-28.
Abstract: The WPA was the most expensive and politically prominent U.S. social program of the 1930s, and the generosity and very nature of U.S. social policy in its formative years was contested through the WPA. In this article, an institutional politics theory of social policy is elaborated that incorporates the influence of both institutional conditions and political actors: Institutions mediate the influence of political actors. Specifically it is argued that underdemocratized political systems and patronage-oriented party systems dampen the cause of generous social spending and the impact of those struggling for it. State actors, left-party regimes, and social movements spur social policy, but only under favorable institutional conditions. To appraise this theory, key Senate roll-call votes on WPA wage rates are examined, as well as state-level variations in WPA wages at the end of the 1930s. The analyses, which include multiple regression and qualitative comparative analysis, support the theory.
Amenta, Edwin, and Jane D. Poulsen. 1996. "Social Politics in Context: The Institutional Politics Theory and Social Spending at the End of the New Deal." Social Forces 75 (1):33-60.
Abstract: In this article, we develop an institutional politics theory of public social provision and examine U.S. social spending programs at the end of the New Deal. This theory integrates key insights of institutional and political theories of social policy. Drawing on institutional arguments, our theory holds that the willingness or ability of prospending actors to promote social spending initiatives depends on institutional conditions, especially the extent of voting rights and the nature of political party systems. Furthermore, drawing on political arguments, the theory posits the importance of pro-spending actors, including progressive factions of political parties and organized challengers. To appraise the institutional politics theory, we analyze state-level outcomes for Old-Age Assistance pensions and Works Progress Administration wages, employing multiple regression and qualitative comparative analysis (QCA). All analyses support the institutional politics theory.
Amoroso, Lisa, and Charles Ragin. 1999. "Individual and Institutional Employment Patterns: Two Approaches to Understanding Control of Voluntary and Involuntary Job Shifts among Germans and Foreigners from 1991 to 1996." Quarterly Journal of Economic Research 68 (2):222-9.
Abstract: As social scientists we are generally interested in modelling complex social processes, yet many conventional practices obscure complexity and thus pose obstacles to its detection and analysis. In this paper we provide an empirical example, using data from the German Socio-Economic Panel (GSOEP), to illustrate the effect of the implicit simplifying assumptions that researchers make regarding limited diversity. Both logistic regression and qualitative comparative analysis (QCA) are used to analyze the same data. Our example considers the factors that shape whether a job change is voluntary or involuntary among former East and West German citizens and foreigners for the period from 1991 to 1996.
Anckar, Dag. 2004. "Direct Democracy in Microstates and Small Island States." World Development 32 (2):379-90.
Abstract: This study is an empirical examination of the use of direct democracy in microstates and small island states. The study covers all democratic microstates and small island states in the world in 1999. Democratic status is derived from Freedom House data, and the question of whether small states form a distinct subpopulation in terms of direct democracy is approached through systematic comparisons with a population consisting of all 85 democracies in 1999. The findings are that whereas microstates make limited use of the popular initiative and the policy vote, they frequently apply the constitutional referendum. Whereas colonial background rather than size explains much of this pattern, the inclination of small states for the constitutional referendum stands substantiated.
Andrade, Luciano de, Catherine Lynch, Elias Carvalho, Clarissa Garcia Rodrigues, João Ricardo Nickenig Vissoci, Guttenberg Ferreira Passos, Ricardo Pietrobon, Oscar Kenji Nihei, and Maria Dalva de Barros Carvalho. 2014. "System Dynamics Modeling in the Evaluation of Delays of Care in ST-Segment Elevation Myocardial Infarction Patients within a Tiered Health System." PLoS ONE 9 (7):e103577.
Abstract: Background: Mortality rates amongst ST segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) patients remain high, especially in developing countries. The aim of this study was to evaluate the factors related with delays in the treatment of STEMI patients to support a strategic plan toward structural and personnel modifications in a primary hospital aligning its process with international guidelines. Methods and Findings: The study was conducted in a primary hospital localized in Foz do Iguacu, Brazil. We utilized a qualitative and quantitative integrated analysis including on-site observations, interviews, medical records analysis, Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) and System Dynamics Modeling (SD). Main cause of delays were categorized into three themes: a) professional, b) equipment and c) transportation logistics. QCA analysis confirmed four main stages of delay to STEMI patient's care in relation to the 'Door-in Door-out' time at the primary hospital. These stages and their average delays in minutes were: a) First Medical Contact (From Door-In to the first contact with the nurse and/or physician): 7 minutes; b) Electrocardiogram acquisition and review by a physician: 28 minutes; c) ECG transmission and Percutaneous Coronary Intervention Center team feedback time: 76 minutes; and d) Patient's Transfer Waiting Time: 78 minutes. SD baseline model confirmed the system's behavior with all occurring delays and the need of improvements. Moreover, after model validation and sensitivity analysis, results suggested that an overall improvement of 40% to 50% in each of these identified stages would reduce the delay. Conclusions: This evaluation suggests that investment in health personnel training, diminution of bureaucracy, and management of guidelines might lead to important improvements decreasing the delay of STEMI patients' care. In addition, this work provides evidence that SD modeling may highlight areas where health system managers can implement and evaluate the necessary changes in order to improve the process of care.
Ansorg, Nadine. 2014. "Wars without Borders: Conditions for the Development of Regional Conflict Systems in Sub-Saharan Africa." International Area Studies Review 17 (3):295-312.
Abstract: How and under what conditions does war spread into regions and do regional conflict systems evolve? These systems are defined as geographically bound spaces of insecurity, ones that are characterized by interdependent armed conflicts in which a plurality of actors who concur and/or interact within complex networks, and on different levels of action, participate. The regionalization of armed conflict is conceptualized as either the geographical diffusion to a new territory or as the escalation of violence within the very same territory, with the involvement therein of a multiplicity of actors. The processes of diffusion and escalation of civil war in potential and existent regional conflict systems in sub-Saharan Africa between 1989 and 2010 are analyzed with the help of a multivalue Qualitative Comparative Analysis (mvQCA). By using such a QCA, it is possible to compare several different cases and produce results that go beyond the ones thus far discovered from small-N analyses. By comparing 12 cases it is also possible to identify the causal relationships and interactions between variables. The analysis shows that, in the cases compared, four specific conditions lead to a regional spread of violence: economic networks sustained through the support of neighboring countries; an intervention on the part of the government; militarized refugees; and, non-salient regional identity groups.
Arvind, T. T., and Lindsay Stirton. 2010. "Explaining the Reception of the Code Napoleon in Germany: A Fuzzy-Set Qualitative Comparative Analysis." Legal Studies 30 (1):1-29.
Abstract: This paper examines the diverse responses of the German states to the Code Napoleon at the beginning of the nineteenth century. These states differed both in the extent to which they adopted the Code, and the extent to which they retained the Code after Napoleon's influence waned. In order to identify the causes of adoption and retention of the Code, we use fuzzy-set qualitative comparative analysis (fsQCA). This method is now well established in comparative research in the social sciences but has been little used in comparative legal analysis. We find the following to be among the conditions relevant to the reception of the Code: territorial diversity, control by Napoleon, central state institutions, a feudal economy and society, liberal (enlightented absolutist) rule, nativism among the governing elites and popular anti-French sentiment. The paper also serves to demonstrate the potential of fsQCA as a method for comparative lawyers.
Aubin, David, and Frederic Varone. 2013. Getting Access to Water: Property Rights or Public Policy Strategies? Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy 31(1): 154-67.
Abstract: Water is subject to heterogeneous uses that put pressure on it and create rivalries between competing users. With this paper we analyse the conditions under which challengers are successful in gaining access to the resource and in imposing a change of behaviour on the incumbent users. We ask whether the acquisition of property rights is the only means for a challenger to get access to the resource. The empirical study compares eleven 'most different' cases of water rivalries in four water basins. We show that two main 'paths' explain success: either the challenger activates a property right and negotiates a solution at no cost for the incumbents or he or she activates a public policy that grants him or her aÿcredible alternative to a negotiated agreement. Thus, the challenger must select the kind of rule, property right, or public policy that supports their position and then elaborate an appropriate strategy to impose this rule.
Avdagic, Sabina. 2010. "When Are Concerted Reforms Feasible? Explaining the Emergence of Social Pacts in Western Europe." Comparative Political Studies 43 (5):628-57.
Abstract: Under what conditions do governments, employers, and unions enter formal policy agreements on incomes, employment, and social security? Such agreements, widely known as social pacts, became particularly prominent during the 1990s when European economies underwent major adjustment. This article seeks to explain national variation in adjustment strategies and specifically why concerted agreements were struck in some countries but not in others. A fuzzy-set qualitative comparative analysis of 14 European countries is employed to assess main arguments about the emergence of pacts. The analysis yields two key findings. First, although prevailing arguments emphasize Economic and Monetary Union-related pressures, or alternatively unemployment, these factors were neither necessary nor in themselves sufficient for pacts to materialize. Rather, a high economic "problem load" appears to be causally relevant only when combined with particular political and institutional conditions, namely, the prevalence of electorally weak governments and/or an intermediate level of union centralization. Second, the analysis refines existing multicausal explanations of pacts by demonstrating three distinct, theoretically and empirically relevant causal pathways to concerted agreements.
Aversa, Paolo, Santi Furnari, and Stefan Haefliger. 2015. "Business Model Configurations and Performance: A Qualitative Comparative Analysis in Formula One Racing, 2005-2013." Industrial and Corporate Change 24 (3):655-76.
Abstract: We investigate the business model configurations associated with high and low firm performance by conducting a qualitative comparative analysis of firms competing in Formula One racing. We find that configurations of two business models - one focused on selling technology to competitors, the other one on developing and trading human resources with competitors - are associated with high performance. We also investigate why these configurations are high-performing and find that they are underpinned by capability-enhancing complementarities, accelerating firms' learning and supporting the development of focused firms' capabilities.
Baker, Anne E. 2014. "The Fading Exceptionalism of American Political Parties?: Evidence from Party Allocation Decisions." Comparative Sociology 13 (3):284-314.
Abstract: Using qualitative comparative analysis to mirror the decision-framework employed by the leaders of the Democratic and Republican congressional campaign committees, I demonstrate party leaders simultaneously consider multiple factors when they decide how to distribute their party's limited resources to candidates. In contrast to studies, which characterize American party organizations as strategically pragmatic rather than ideologically motivated like parties in many other countries, I find the congressional candidate's ideology is an increasingly important criterion for the receipt of party support as politics in the United States becomes more polarized.
Bakker, René, Bart Cambré, Leonique Korlaar, and Joerg Raab. 2011. "Managing the Project Learning Paradox: A Set-Theoretic Approach Toward Project Knowledge Transfer." International Journal of Project Management 29 (5):494-503.
Abstract: Managing project-based learning is becoming an increasingly important part of project management. This article presents a comparative case study of 12 cases of knowledge transfer between temporary inter-organizational projects and permanent parent organizations. Our set-theoretic analysis of these data yields two major findings. First, a high level of absorptive capacity of the project owner is a necessary condition for successful project knowledge transfer, which implies that the responsibility for knowledge transfer seems to in the first place lie with the project parent organization, not with the project manager. Second, none of the factors are sufficient by themselves. This implies that successful project knowledge transfer is a complex process always involving configurations of multiple factors. We link these implications with the view of projects as complex temporary organizational forms in which successful project managers need to cope with complexity by simultaneously paying attention to both relational and organizational processes.
Balthasar, Andreas. 2006. "The Effects of Institutional Design on the Utilization of Evaluation." Evaluation 12 (3):353-71.
Abstract: This article presents some of the results from a study in progress, focusing on the influence of the institutional distance between evaluators and evaluees on the utilization of evaluations. The basis for the results presented here is an analysis of ten case studies from Switzerland. These cases involve evaluations that were carried out in different institutional contexts, with widely varying institutional distances between evaluators and evaluees. 'Qualitative Comparative Analysis' (QCA) has been used to interpret the cases, in order to allow a combination of case-and variable-centred comparisons. The analysis indicates that, under certain conditions, the institutional distance between evaluators and evaluees has no influence on the use of evaluations. In particular, formative objectives can be achieved quite independently of distance. When interpreting the results, however, one should not neglect the fact that they are solely based on a systematic evaluation of ten case studies with QCA. Generalization is not possible on this basis, nor is this the aim of the present article. On the contrary, the objective is to continue developing the debate about the influence of the institutional distance between evaluators and evaluees on the utilization of evaluations.
Baltzer, Maria, Hugo Westerlund, Mona Backhans, and Karin Melinder. 2011. "Involvement and Structure: A Qualitative Study of Organizational Change and Sickness Absence among Women in the Public Sector in Sweden." BMC Public Health 11 (1):318-34.
Abstract: Background: Organizational changes in modern corporate life have become increasingly common and there are indications that they often fail to achieve their ends. An earlier study of 24,036 employees showed that those who had repeatedly been exposed to large increases in staffing during 1991-1996 had an excess risk of both long-term sickness absence and hospital admission during 1997-1999, while moderate expansion appeared to be protective. The former was most salient among female public sector employees. We used qualitative interviews to explore work environment factors underlying the impact of organizational changes (moderate and large expansions in staffing) on sickness absence from an employee perspective. Method: We interviewed 21 strategically selected women from the earlier study using semi-structured telephone interviews focusing on working conditions during the organizational changes. We identified 22 themes which could explain the association between organizational changes and sickness absence. We then used Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) to reduce the number of themes and discover patterns of possible causation. Results: The themes that most readily explained the outcomes were Well Planned Process of Change (a clear structure for involvement of the employees in the changes), Agent of Change (an active role in the implementation of the changes), Unregulated Work (a lack of clear limits and guidelines regarding work tasks from the management and among the employees), and Humiliating Position (feelings of low status or of not being wanted at the workplace), which had been salient throughout the analytic process, in combination with Multiple Contexts (working in several teams in parallel) and Already Ill (having already had a debilitating illness at the beginning of 1991), which may indicate degree of individual exposure and vulnerability. Well Planned Process of Change, Agent of Change and Multiple Contexts are themes that were associated with low sickness absence. Unregulated Work, Humiliating Position and Already Ill were associated with high sickness absence. Conclusions: These findings suggest that promising areas for future research and improvement in change management could be the structured involvement of the employees in the planning of organizational changes, and the development of methods to avoid highly unregulated working conditions.
Bank, André, Thomas Richter, and Anna Sunik. 2015. "Long-Term Monarchical Survival in the Middle East: A Configurational Comparison, 1945-2012." Democratization 22 (1):179-200.
Abstract: The survival of eight monarchies during the "Arab Uprisings" has put centre stage the fundamental question about the durability of this subtype of authoritarian regime. Seen from a broader historical perspective, however, the idea that monarchies have an inherent advantage in retaining power is less evident: a number of authoritarian monarchies broke down and subsequently became republics (Egypt 1952, Iraq 1958, North Yemen 1962, Libya 1969, Iran 1979), while others survived (Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates). To account for these divergent long-term pathways we systematically compare the 13 current and former Middle East monarchies. Using a fuzzy set qualitative comparative analysis (fsQCA), we concentrate on five central explanatory factors derived from previous research - namely, external support, rent revenues, family participation, the monarch's claim to legitimate rule, and hard repression. Our findings highlight the existence of three broad pathways to monarchical survival - linchpin monarchies, like Jordan and Morocco, versus the dynastic Gulf monarchies - and also reveal a possible hybrid third pathway, one which shares linchpin characteristics, but relates to cases on the Arabian Peninsula (Oman and the historical Imamate in North Yemen).
Bara, Corinne. 2014. "Incentives and Opportunities: A Complexity-Oriented Explanation of Violent Ethnic Conflict." Journal of Peace Research 51 (6):696-710.
Abstract: Existing research on the causes of violent ethnic conflict is characterized by an enduring debate on whether these conflicts are the result of deeply felt grievances or the product of an opportunity structure in which rebellion is an attractive and/or viable option. This article argues that the question of whether incentive- or opportunity-based explanations of conflict have more explanatory power is fundamentally misguided, as conflict is more likely the result of a complex interaction of both. The fact is, however, that there is little generalized knowledge about these interactions. This study aims to fill this gap and applies crisp-set Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) in order to identify constellations of risk factors that are conducive to ethnic conflict. The results demonstrate the explanatory leverage gained by taking causal complexity in the form of risk patterns into account. It takes no more than four different configurations of a total of eight conditions to reliably explain almost two-thirds of all ethnic conflict onsets between 1990 and 2009. Moreover, these four configurations are quasi-sufficient for onset, leading to conflict in 88% of all cases covered. The QCA model generated in this article also fares well in predicting conflicts in-sample and out-of-sample, with the in-sample predictions being more precise than those generated by a simple binary logistic regression.
Bartley, Tim, and Curtis Child. 2014. "Shaming the Corporation: The Social Production of Targets and the Anti-Sweatshop Movement." American Sociological Review 79 (4):653-79.
Abstract: As social movements co-evolve with changes in states and markets, it is crucial to examine how they make particular kinds of actors into focal points for the expression of grievances and the demand for rights. But researchers often bracket the question of why some kinds of organizations are more likely than others to become targets of social movement pressure. We theorize the "social production of targets" by social movements, rejecting a simple "reflection" model to focus on configurations of power and vulnerability that shape repertoires of contention. Empirically, we extend structural accounts of global commodity chains and cultural accounts of markets to analyze the production of targets in the case of the anti-sweatshop movement of the 1990s. Using a longitudinal, firm-level dataset and unique data on anti-sweatshop activism, we identify factors that attracted social movement pressure to particular companies. Firms' power and positions strongly shaped their likelihood of becoming targets of anti-sweatshop activism. But the likelihood of being a target also depended on the cultural organization of markets, which made some firms more "shamable" than others. Contrary to suggestions of an anti-globalization backlash, globalization on its own, and related predictions about protectionism, cannot explain the pattern of activism.
Barton, Harry, and Malcolm J. Beynon. 2015. "Do the Citizens of Europe Trust their Police?" International Journal of Emergency Services 4 (1):65-85.
Abstract: Purpose: The maintenance of public order and the control of crime are clearly amongst the primary objectives of global law enforcement agencies. An important antecedent to this is the consideration of public trust in their police force. The purpose of this paper is to utilise data from the fifth round European Social Survey (ESS), to investigate how public social indicators may be highlight the level of trust in a country's police force. Design/methodology/approach: The results from the ESS are analysed using fuzzy-set Qualitative Comparative Analysis (fsQCA), multiply conjunctional causal configurations of the considered social indicators are then established and analysed. Findings: A consequence of using fsQCA, asymmetric causal configurations are identified for the relative high and low limiting levels of trust towards the police in the considered countries. The results offer novel insights into the relationship between social indicators and police trust, as well as expositing a nascent technique (fsQCA) that may offer future potential in this area. Originality/value: This paper introduces a nascent technique (fsQCA) to analyse a major European data set relating to citizens perceptions of the police. The findings might prove useful for policing organisations as they develop strategies to maintain/improve the level of trust and confidence of citizens in the policing services they provide.
Basedau, Matthias, and Thomas Richter. 2014. "Why do some Oil Exporters Experience Civil War but others do not? Investigating the Conditional Effects of Oil." European Political Science Review 6 (4):549-74.
Abstract: According to quantitative studies, oil seems the only natural resource that is robustly linked to civil war onset. However, recent debates on the nexus of oil and internal conflict have neglected the fact that there are a number of peaceful rentier oil states in existence. Few efforts have been made to explain why some oil-exporting countries have experienced civil war while others have not. We thus address this puzzle, by arguing that civil war risks depend on the specific conditions of oil production and how they come to structure state-society relations. Specifically, we expect that states that are either highly dependent on oil or who have problematic relations with oil regions are prone to civil war. However, these risks will be mitigated either when democratic institutions can manage conflicts peacefully or when abundant oil revenues can be spent in such a way as to buy peace. We test this conditional argument by comparing 39 net oil exporters, using a (crisp-set) Qualitative Comparative Analysis - a methodology particularly suited to test conditional relationships in medium-N samples. Our results largely confirm our conditional hypotheses. Conditions of oil production are ambiguous, and particular combinations thus explain the onset of civil war. Specifically, we find that high abundance is sufficient to ensure peace, while two distinct pathways lead to civil war: the combination of high dependence and low abundance, as well as the overlap of ethnic exclusion and oil reserves in non-abundant and non-democratic oil states.
Basurto, Xavier. 2013. "Linking Multi-Level Governance to Local Common-Pool Resource Theory using Fuzzy-Set Qualitative Comparative Analysis: Insights from Twenty Years of Biodiversity Conservation in Costa Rica." Global Environmental Change 23 (3):573-87.
Abstract: Understanding the relationship between multi-level institutional linkages and conditions influencing the likelihood of successful collective action has practical and theoretical relevance to sustainable local resource governance. This paper studies the relationship between multi-level linkages and local autonomy, a facilitating condition found to increase the likelihood of local successful collective action. A technique known as fuzzy-set qualitative comparative analysis (fsQCA) was applied to a longitudinal comparative data set. In the context of the decentralization of a protected area system in Costa Rica (1986-2006), it traced the emergence and endurance of autonomy among local institutions for biodiversity conservation. The technique illustrates which set of multi-level linkages combined in different ways, and at different points in time, to reach the same outcome (local autonomy). The findings show that a unique set of combinations of multi-level linkages led to the emergence of local autonomy among institutions for biodiversity conservation governance. In contrast, a more diverse set was associated with the endurance of local autonomy over time, suggesting that institutional diversity may play a more prominent role in the maintenance of institutional robustness than in processes of institutional emergence.
Bauwens, Joke, Bojana Lobe, Katia Segers, and Liza Tsaliki. 2009. "A Shared Responsibility." Journal of Children and Media 3 (4):316-30.
Abstract: Children's growing use of the Internet creates both opportunities and risks. Collecting and comparing empirical findings on risks and opportunities experienced across 20 different European countries shows significant differences between them. Using Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA), this article investigates which factors contribute towards a high degree of online risk experienced by children across these countries. The research shows that patterns of similarities and differences do not seem to coincide with regional, political, and historical divides across European Union countries. The findings seem to endorse the multilayered approach of multi-stakeholder governance, which stresses the co-responsibility in securing children's online safety. However, one of the most important country conditions explaining high risk appears to be the lack of positive online content provision.
Befani, Barbara. 2005. "The Mechanisms of Suicide: A Realist Approach." International Review of Sociology 15 (1):51-75.
Abstract: This article pursues two aims, a major and a minor one. The major one is to read some important results in the sociological literature on suicide, namely those obtained by Durkheim in 1897, Giddens in 1966 and Pope and Danigelis in 1981, as Context-Mechanism-Outcome configurations. The realist interpretation of the theories of suicide is deemed to be fundamental for the explanation of this social phenomenon, if one wishes not to be misled by the (false) laws which have repeatedly been designated to govern it, e.g., the married are more immune than the unmarried, and, above all - being clamorously labelled 'Sociology's One Law' - the one declaring 'Protestants kill themselves more often than Catholics'. The minor aim is to show that the synthesis of Boolean data, as can be performed for example by QCA (qualitative comparative analysis), is perfectly compatible with the realist synthesis; when not quite constituting its rigorous formalization.
Set 1Set 2
Bell, R. Greg, Igor Filatotchev, and Ruth V. Aguilera. 2014. "Corporate Governance and Investors' Perceptions of Foreign IPO Value: An Institutional Perspective." Academy of Management Journal 57 (1):301-20.
Abstract: This article investigates stock market responses to different constellations of firm-level corporate governance mechanisms by focusing on foreign initial public offerings (IPOs) in the United States. We build on sociology-grounded research on financial market behavior and use a "nested" legitimacy framework to explore US investor perceptions of foreign IPO value. Using a fuzzy set theoretic methodology, we demonstrate how different combinations of monitoring and incentive-based corporate governance mechanisms lead to the same level of investor valuation of firms. Moreover, institutional factors related to the strength of minority shareholder protection in a foreign IPO's home country represent a boundary condition that affects the number of governance mechanisms required to achieve high value perceptions among US investors. Our findings contribute to the sociological perspective on comparative corporate governance and the dependencies between organizations and institutions.
Bentele, Keith Gunnar. 2013. "Distinct paths to higher inequality? A Qualitative Comparative Analysis of rising earnings inequality among U.S. States, 1980-2010." Research in Social Stratification and Mobility 34 (0):30-57.
Abstract: In this paper Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) is used to explore the extent to which states have taken distinct causal paths to higher levels of earnings inequality within the 1980s, 1990s, 2000s, and during the early years of the 2007-09 recession. In these analyses special attention is paid to both the regional unfolding of the processes constituting economic restructuring and whether state institutional arrangements appear to mediate the impacts of inequality-increasing developments. Overall, these analyses suggest that industry and occupational shifts are critical to understanding state and regional experiences; state variation in changes in earnings inequality are, in large part, a story of the continuous playing out of economic restructuring in unique ways in different areas of the country. However, the subnational impact of the growth or decline of particular types of occupations on the earnings distribution is found to be highly contingent, depending on both the types of jobs gained or lost and the institutional and economic context in which those developments occur. It is suggested that the overall contribution of industry shifts to rising inequality may be underemphasized, in part, as a result of a reliance on analytical approaches that are ill-suited to capture the complicated and contingent nature of the impacts of processes such as deindustrialization. These analyses contribute to a growing body of work that employs a distinctly sociological approach in which earnings determination is viewed as multi-level phenomenon. Building on this insight, this paper suggests that changes in subnational levels of inequality may also be usefully conceptualized as an inherently combinatorial phenomenon.
Berbegal-Mirabent, Jasmina, Domingo Enrique Ribeiro-Soriano, and José Luis Sánchez García. 2015. "Can a Magic Recipe Foster University Spin-Off Creation?" Journal of Business Research 68 (11):2272-8.
Abstract: This study examines factors that explain the creation of university spin-offs. The study focuses on mechanisms that technology transfer offices (TTOs) and universities employ to foster spin-offs. These mechanisms include technology transfer activities that support spin-offs, normative frameworks, support infrastructures (i.e., business incubators and science parks), and TTO staff's specialist technical skills. The analysis also differentiates between public and private universities. Spin-offs belong to one or more of the following groups: spin-offs with support from the university's TTO, spin-offs operating under a license agreement, and spin-offs in which the TTO or university holds equity. Qualitative comparative analysis (QCA) of 2011 data from 63 Spanish universities (46 public and 17 private) identifies recipes of antecedent conditions that effectively foster spin-offs. Results show that no unique combination of antecedent conditions yields more university spin-offs than any other does. This finding indicates that several strategies can successfully lead to academic entrepreneurship.
Berg-Schlosser, Dirk. 1998. "Conditions of Authoritarianism, Fascism and Democracy in Inter-War Europe: A Cross-Sectional and Longitudinal Analysis." International Journal of Comparative Sociology 39 (4):335-77.
Abstract: Conditions of democracy continue to be discussed for various parts of the world. The interwar period in Europe, with some of the most dramatic breakdowns of democratic systems, provides an interesting "Iaboratory" for systematic investigation in this respect. This paper summarizes the major findings of a large international research project covering 18 European states. It presents and discusses broader social structural, political cultural, institutional, etc. conditions of democracy against which the impact of the world economic crisis of the late 1920s and early 1930s, the respective social and electoral reactions, the political moves of major actors and the final survival or breakdown of parliamenlary regimes are assessed. It employs both macro-quantitative and macro-qualitative methods in a cross-sectional and, as far as possible, longitudinal manner. In this way, in a "quasi experimental" systematic comparative design "structure-" and "actor-oriented" approaches, i.e., the "opportunity-set" and the actual choices and outcomes, are brought into a common perspective. The results point to interesting applications to the present situation in Eastern Europe and elsewhere.
Berg-Schlosser, Dirk. 2008. "Determinants of Democratic Successes and Failures in Africa." European Journal of Political Research 47 (3):269-306.
Abstract: This article, first, identifies democratic, authoritarian and 'praetorian' political system types in Africa on the basis of major current indicators. It then systematically tests a broad variety of hypotheses concerning the historical, social-structural, socio-economic, political and institutional determinants and performance characteristics of these system types. A macro-quantitative synopsis attempts to identify the most 'parsimonious' overall constellations of factors in this regard. This is supplemented by a macro-qualitative analysis of major 'conjunctural' conditions identifying the main groups of cases and their determining factors in a 'contradiction-free' manner. The conclusions point to the decisive importance of 'governance' aspects in the future.
Berg-Schlosser, Dirk, and Gisèle De Meur. 1994. "Conditions of Democracy in Interwar Europe: A Boolean Test of Major Hypotheses." Comparative Politics 26 (3):253-79.
Abstract: Major hypotheses concerning conditions conducive to the breakdown or survival of democratic regimes in sixteen European states in the interwar period are tested in a systematic comparative manner on the basis of Boolean methods. These hypotheses take into account a wide variety of socioeconomic, social structural, political cultural, and institutional factors, as well as specific historical sequences and other dynamic and actor-related effects. The tests clearly exhibit the respective strengths and weaknesses and remaining contradictions of the various approaches. They provide a first "pruning" of some of the more important aspects of empirical democratic theory which can be conducted in a "quasi-experimental" design. The findings point to further modifications and applications elsewhere, including some consequences for contemporary developments.
Berntzen, Einar. 1993. "Democratic Consolidation in Central America: A Qualitative Comparative Approach." Third World Quarterly 14 (3):589-604.
1.Paragraph: 'Democracy' can be said to have replaced 'dependence' as the buzzword of the 1990s with regard to Third World politics. Since the 1980s country after country in the Third World is replacing military and authoritarian regimes with elected regimes. Though this movement has gone furthest in Latin America, it has also had a considerable impact on the politics of Asia and Africa. At face value democracy is sweeping the Third World.
Beyens, Stefanie, Paul Lucardie, and Kris Deschouwer. 2016. "The Life and Death of New Political Parties in the Low Countries." West European Politics 39 (2):257-77.
Abstract: Numerous new parties have emerged since voters became less loyal to established political parties. A number of these survived and have been analysed intensely, especially green and radical right parties; many other new parties disappeared and have been neglected by party research. This article analyses the fate of all 30 political parties that entered parliament in the Netherlands or Belgium between 1950 and 2003. Qualitative comparative analysis is used to identify characteristics of both surviving and disappeared new parties. Conditions related to party origin (roots in civil society, organisational newness, initial programmatic profile) are scrutinised, as are conditions pertaining to the party's developmental process (party organisational strength and the occurrence of defections or party splits). Surviving parties are characterised by strong, rooted organisations that have not suffered defections. Most disappeared parties lacked a strong organisation and roots and have experienced shocks that they could not absorb. Organisational newness makes new parties vulnerable.
Biggert, Robert. 1997. "Why Labor Wins, Why Labor Loses: A Test of two Theories." Sociological Quarterly 38 (1):205-24.
Abstract: Legal regulation of the labor contract is central to American policy formation. This study analyzes the reasons for the passage of federal labor laws that governed workplace activity in the United States from 1897 to 1980. The dependent variable includes all major federal statutes that are favorable or detrimental to labor. Two theories are considered: a mass disruption approach and a party control perspective. Qualitative comparative analysis is used to assess the utility of both theories. For the pro-labor laws, the findings show partial support for both models. The theories are better at explaining reform prior to rather than after World War II. An explanation is presented for this temporal break. For the antilabor laws, the results are inconclusive due to the small sample size. An alternative account is offered that focuses on policy making under divided government. This research suggests analyzing the interaction of economic, class, and political variables and using larger sample research designs as guidelines for future investigation.
Bijlsma, Katinka M., and Gerhard G. van de Bunt. 2003. "Antecedents of Trust in Managers: A "Bottom up" Approach." Personnel Review 32 (5):638-64.
Abstract: Research on antecedents of trust has, so far, yielded results that do not easily stand up to confrontation with the widely-held assumption of bounded rationality. By employing complex constructs as indicators of antecedents, it is implied that actors, in pondering on trust in managers, can deal with many complex cues, instead of a few single ones, as bounded rationality suggests. This study proposes a different approach, by searching for a parsimonious set of managerial behaviours that serve as cues for subordinates regarding trust in managers. Interview and survey data were combined in this search. Regression analysis and a Boolean pattern analysis were used to arrive at a parsimonious model with high explanatory power.
Binder, Martin. 2015. "Paths to Intervention: What Explains the UN's Selective Response to Humanitarian Crises?" Journal of Peace Research 52 (6):712-26.
Abstract: Over the past two decades, the United Nations Security Council has responded more strongly to some humanitarian crises than to others. This variation in Security Council action raises the important question of what factors motivate United Nations intervention. This article offers a configurational explanation of selective Security Council intervention that integrates explanatory variables from different theories of third-party intervention. These variables are tested through a comparison of 31 humanitarian crises (1991-2004) using fuzzy-set qualitative comparative analysis. The analysis shows that a large extent of human suffering and substantial previous involvement in a crisis by international institutions are the key explanatory conditions for coercive Security Council action, but only when combined with negative spillover effects to neighboring countries (path 1) or with low capabilities of the target state (path 2). These results are highly consistent and explain 85% of Security Council interventions after the end of the Cold War. The findings suggest that the Council's response to humanitarian crises is not random, but follows specific patterns that are indicated by a limited number of causal paths.
Blackman, Tim. 2008. "Can Smoking Cessation Services be Better Targeted to Tackle Health Inequalities? Evidence from a Cross-Sectional Study." Health Education Journal 67 (2):91-101.
Abstract: Objective: To investigate how smoking cessation services could be more effectively targeted to tackle socioeconomic inequalities in health. Design Secondary analysis of data from a household interview survey undertaken for Middlesbrough Council in north east England using the technique of Qualitative Comparative Analysis. Setting Home-based interviews in Middlesbrough. Method: Qualitative Comparative Analysis of data for 2882 respondents aged 16 years or over. Smoking prevalence was calculated for different combinations of respondents' characteristics: worklessness, income, education, neighbourhood liveability and neighbourliness. Results: Smoking prevalence ranged from 74.5 per cent to 10.3 per cent across 19 combinations of the selected characteristics. Almost all combinations with smoking rates higher than 50 per cent included worklessness. One other combination exceeded 50 per cent and included respondents reporting all of the following: unhelpful neighbours, no further education, low liveability and low income. The combinations with the lowest smoking prevalences had only one or two of these characteristics present and the very lowest prevalence of 10.3 per cent was associated with all being absent. If unhelpful neighbours were present in any combination smoking rates were moderately high (32.4 per cent or higher). Conclusions: The analysis points to important features of the context of smokers' lives. By improving these conditions, appreciable reductions in smoking prevalence are likely. These reductions might be even greater if interventions to improve neighbourhoods and job opportunities are combined with the timely provision of smoking cessation services. Targeting these transitions could be a more effective strategy than simply targeting all deprived neighbourhoods.
Blackman, Tim. 2013. "Exploring Explanations for Local Reductions in Teenage Pregnancy Rates in England: An Approach Using Qualitative Comparative Analysis." Social Policy and Society 12 (1):61-72.
Abstract: Teenage pregnancy rates in the UK are high compared with many other countries but there is marked variation across local areas, including those with high deprivation. This study uses the method of Qualitative Comparative Analysis to identify conditions associated with the presence or absence of a narrowing gap in teenage pregnancy rates as measured by the differences between deprived local authority areas and the national average. A higher proportion of black and minority ethnic groups in the local population is found to be a sufficient although not necessary condition for narrowing to have occurred. Surprisingly, a good assessment of commissioning practice - combined with other conditions - was associated with areas where the gap has not been narrowing.
Blackman, Tim, and Katie Dunstan. 2010. "Qualitative Comparative Analysis and Health Inequalities: Investigating Reasons for Differential Progress with Narrowing Local Gaps in Mortality." Journal of Social Policy 39 (03):359-73.
Abstract: Although health inequalities in England reflect underlying deprivation, there is considerable variation among deprived areas in the extent to which these inequalities are narrowing. Using survey data from 15 local authority areas in North West England, and Ragin's technique of Qualitative Comparative Analysis, contextual features and ways of working in these areas are shown to combine in systematic ways with recent trends in inequalities as measured by premature mortality. For circulatory diseases, a narrowing mortality gap showed a clear association with smoking cessation services that accorded with a best practice description, combined with a local population with relatively more people aged 65 or older. For cancers, a narrowing mortality gap was associated with areas that combined relatively low population mobility with a professional working culture described as one of individual commitment and championing. These findings reveal the complexity of meeting health inequality targets and applying evidence to this endeavour, since both ways of working and context appear to be important to making progress. Both need to be understood case by case if targets are to be locally realistic and evidence applied where local practice is known to matter to the outcome.
Blackman, Tim, Jonathan Wistow, and David Byrne. 2011. "A Qualitative Comparative Analysis of Factors Associated with Trends in Narrowing Health Inequalities in England." Social Science & Medicine 72 (12):1965-74.
Abstract: This study explores why progress with tackling health inequalities has varied among a group of local authority areas in England that were set targets to narrow important health outcomes compared to national averages. It focuses on premature deaths from cancers and cardiovascular disease (CVD) and whether the local authority gap for these outcomes narrowed. Survey and secondary data were used to create dichotomised conditions describing each area. For cancers, ten conditions were found to be associated with whether or not narrowing occurred: presence/absence of a working culture of individual commitment and champions; spending on cancer programmes; aspirational or comfortable/complacent organisational cultures; deprivation; crime; assessments of strategic partnership working, commissioning and the public health workforce; frequency of progress reviews; and performance rating of the local Primary Care Trust (PCT). For CVD, six conditions were associated with whether or not narrowing occurred: a PCT budget closer or further away from target; assessments of primary care services, smoking cessation services and local leadership; presence/absence of a few major programmes; and population turnover. The method of Qualitative Comparative Analysis was used to find configurations of these conditions with either the narrowing or not narrowing outcomes. Narrowing cancer gaps were associated with three configurations in which individual commitment and champions was a necessary condition, and not narrowing was associated with a group of conditions that had in common a high level of bureaucratic-type work. Narrowing CVD gaps were associated with three configurations in which a high assessment of either primary care or smoking cessation services was a necessary condition, and not narrowing was associated with two configurations that both included an absence of major programmes. The article considers substantive and theoretical arguments for these configurations being causal and as pointing to ways of improving progress with tackling health inequalities.
Blake, Charles H. 1996. "The Politics of Inflation-Fighting in New Democracies." Studies in Comparative International Development 31 (2):37-57.
Abstract: Several scholars have advocated social pacts as a means to combat inflation in new democracies. This article examines efforts to negotiate social pacts in five nascent democratic regimes during their first five years in existence. Boolean analysis demonstrates the improbable nature of the social pacts negotiated in Spain; subsequent analysis aims at improving our understanding of why Spain successed. While social pacts have been minimally useful in most new democracies, inflation has been combatted more successfully in many countries (including some of the cases analyzed here) via the move from state capitalism toward more free-market policies. While market economics has been more successful in fighting inflation, the political effects of such policies have been mixed.
Blake, Charles H., and Jessica R. Adolino. 2001. "The Enactment of National Health Insurance: A Boolean Analysis of Twenty Advanced Industrial Countries." Journal of Health Politics, Policy & Law 26 (4):679.
Abstract: The scholarly literature on health care politics has generated a series of hypotheses to explain U.S. exceptionalism in health policy and to explain the adoption of national health insurance (NHI) more generally. Various cultural, institutional, and political conditions are held to make the establishment of some form of national health insurance policy more (or less) likely to occur. The literature is dominated by national and comparative case studies that illustrate the theoretical logic of these hypotheses but do not provide a framework for examining the hypotheses cross-nationally. This article is an initial attempt to address that void by using Boolean analysis to examine systematically several of the major propositions that emerge from the case study literature on the larger universe of twenty advanced industrial democracies. This comparative analysis offers considerable support for the veto points hypothesis while still finding each of the factors examined to be relevant in certain scenarios. We conclude with a discussion of the implications of these findings for future research and for advocates of national health insurance in the United States.
Blake, Charles H., and Noah Klemm. 2006. "Reconsidering the Effectiveness of International Economic Sanctions: An Examination of Selection Bias." International Politics 43 (1):133-49.
Abstract: One major concern in the study of international economic sanctions is the potential problem of selection bias. Game-theoretical analyses assert that the private suggestion of sanctions could bring about the desired change in behaviour: sanctions are least likely to be imposed when they are most likely to be effective. If this were true frequently enough, the study of sanctions implemented by states (such as in the data developed by Hufbauer, Schott, and Elliott [HSE]) would provide an incomplete picture of the effectiveness of the sanctions approach. In this article, we adapt Boolean analytic techniques to estimate selection bias in the HSE data. This analysis yields evidence of selection bias - suggesting that we should reconsider existing empirical research based on those data. We conclude by considering research approaches that could capture the cases lost to selection bias in the HSE data.
Blatter, Joachim, Matthias Kreutzer, Michaela Rentl, and Jan Thiele. 2010. "Preconditions for Foreign Activities of European Regions: Tracing Causal Configurations of Economic, Cultural, and Political Strategies." Publius 40 (1):171-99.
Abstract: This article traces international activities of regional governments in Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Great Britain, and Italy. We describe how intensively the regions are investing in economic, cultural, and political activities, and how broad the different activities are spread. Then we analyze preconditions for strong activities by using the fuzzy-set qualitative comparative analysis. Two assumptions about causal configurations are confirmed. First, high economic interdependencies in combination with large financial capacities are in most cases sufficient for setting up many promotional offices abroad. Second, a high level of policy autonomy, in combination with strong competencies in foreign affairs, is almost always sufficient for having a well-staffed office in Brussels. In contrast, partnerships with foreign political entities are not a result of a cultural causal configuration.
Bleijenbergh, Inge, and Conny Roggeband. 2007. "Equality Machineries Matter: The Impact of Women's Political Pressure on European Social-Care Policies." Social Politics: International Studies in Gender, State and Society 14 (4):437-59.
Abstract: This study examines the impact of feminist pressure and European Union (EU) policies on national policy changes, such as the introduction or extension of public childcare provision, parental leave, and part-time work legislation. We compared six countries on the basis of Qualitative Comparative Analysis and found that women's political pressure, especially through national equality machinery, is a prerequisite for the emergence and extension of social-care policies. Sequence analysis showed that national machineries are crucial in translating EU measures into national policies.
Bochsler, Daniel. 2011. "It is not how many Votes you get, but also where you get them. Territorial Determinants and Institutional Hurdles for the Success of Ethnic Minority Parties in Post-Communist Countries." Acta Politica 46 (3):217-38.
Abstract: Electoral rules have long been held as important for the success of new political parties, but research has neglected the dimension of territory in this equation. This article argues that the territorial structure of social groups, in interaction with the electoral system, makes a crucial difference for the ability of new parties to enter parliament. In district-based electoral systems, social groups that are highly concentrated face much lower hurdles with an own party than groups that are spread throughout the country. The argument is tested on a novel database on ethnic minority groups from post-communist countries in Europe, including 123 minorities in 19 countries. To test hypotheses with complex interaction effects and binary variables, Qualitative Comparative Analysis appears as the most suitable method. After controlling for size and special minority-relevant provisions in the electoral systems, there is strong confirmation for the hypothesised effect.
Bochsler, Daniel. 2012. "When Two of the Same Are Needed: A Multilevel Model of Intragroup Ethnic Party Competition." Nationalism and Ethnic Politics 18 (2):216-41.
Abstract: Parties of ethno-regional minorities have been created in a large number of ethnically diverse countries, but sometimes one such party is not enough. While previous work has investigated the consequences of intragroup party competition, this study looks at the causes of internal political diversification of minority groups. In states with multiple levels of governments, intra-ethnic rival parties emerge if minorities are local majorities in certain regions. Intra-ethnic party competition is limited, however, through the national electoral system, and especially high legal thresholds can restrict minority parties. This results in complex interaction terms of the territorial settlement structure of ethnic minorities and different types of electoral systems. The empirical analysis relies on Boolean Algebra (csQCA) and on a new cross-national dataset of 19 postcommunist democracies in Europe, counting 123 ethnic minorities.
Bodin, Örjan, and Henrik Österblom. 2013. "International Fisheries Regime Effectiveness - Activities and Resources of Key Actors in the Southern Ocean." Global Environmental Change 23 (5):948-56.
Abstract: Many contemporary environmental challenges are truly global and span several organizational and geographical borders. Research on international environmental regimes has, over the last couple of decades, identified several important factors that contribute to a more effective governance of global ecological resources, but few studies have addressed the different roles certain influential individual organizations play in determining regime effectiveness. Here we address this question by studying a relatively successful fishery governance system in the Southern Ocean. By drawing on insights from the research fields of common-pool resource management and international environmental regimes, we demonstrate that organizations engaged in certain combinations of activities, and that have access to certain combinations of resources stand out as important for regime effectiveness. In particular, collaboration with other flag states and being politically well-connected stand out as important explanatory factors. However, access to advanced technology, engagement in public campaigns, and being active in the field are other factors that, in different combinations, also seem to explain organizational importance. Furthermore, governmental and non-governmental organizations tend to perform different sets of activities and possess different resources, thereby complementing each other. Also, organizations doing similar things are often of different types with different mandates and objectives. This could contribute to improved adaptability and responsiveness to change at the larger regime level. Finally, we discuss some potential implications of our results for capacity-building in international environmental governance.
Boon, Jan, and Koen Verhoest. 2015. "Differences in Overhead Among Public Agencies in the Era of Austerity." Public Performance & Management Review 38 (2):234-60.
Abstract: Reducing overhead is a target for governments across Europe that are looking for ways to economize. This study contributes to our understanding of overhead levels in different types of agencies. Regression and fuzzy set Qualitative Comparative Analysis (fsQCA) are applied to examine the relationship between an agency's overhead level and its formal autonomy, result control, size, and task. The results support the claim that greater formal autonomy leads to a higher overhead, especially when combined with performance-based target setting or when frequent monitoring is absent. The relationship, however, is nonlinear. Distinct effects for the different subdimensions of result control are found. Agency size and task mediate the relationship between formal autonomy, result control and overhead, but only in specific combinations.
Botta, Marco, and Guido Schwellnus. 2015. "Enforcing State Aid Rules in EU Candidate Countries: A Qualitative Comparative Analysis of the Direct and Indirect Effects of Conditionality." Journal of European Public Policy 22 (3):335-52.
Abstract: The article analyses the effectiveness of EU conditionality regarding the enforcement of state aid rules in candidate countries during the pre-accession phase. Theoretically, conditionality should be able to overcome the reluctance of governments to implement control systems that restrict their ability to freely allocate subsidies. Effective conditionality can take two causal paths: first, it can directly influence the political decisions of governments in candidate countries regarding state aid, independent of any domestic institutional set-up; second, the reduction of state aid levels can be the indirect effect of the establishment of domestic monitoring authorities. To test these hypotheses, the article undertakes a multi-value qualitative comparative analysis (mvQCA) of the conditions for the reduction of annual state aid levels with regard to either the credibility of conditionality expressed by different stages in the accession negotiations, or domestic institutional factors such as the independence and operability of state aid monitoring authorities.
Boudet, Hillary S., Dilanka C. Jayasundera, and Jennifer Davis. 2011. "Drivers of Conflict in Developing Country Infrastructure Projects: Experience from the Water and Pipeline Sectors." Journal of Construction Engineering and Management 137 (7):498-511.
Abstract: Despite the considerable scholarship focused on infrastructure investment in the developing world and the substantial sums of money spent each year on developing-country infrastructure, little attention has been given to understanding the drivers of conflict that shape the trajectory and cost structures of these massive investments. The manifestation of conflict among stakeholders in infrastructure projects ranges from the renegotiation of contract terms by project partners to popular protests among consumers of privatized services. The principal objective of this research is to identify combinations of country, project, and stakeholder factors that are associated with the emergence of legal and political conflict within natural gas and oil pipeline projects and water supply concessions and leases. The analysis includes data from 26 infrastructure projects spanning 31 countries and uses an analytical approach derived from Boolean algebra. Country-level characteristics, such as extent of democracy and rate of international NGO membership, are found to be important elements in the recipes for conflict among water supply projects but not for pipeline projects. Local impacts such as service price increases (water supply) and limited provision of oil and gas to the project host country (pipelines) are also important drivers of conflict for both subsectors. The involvement of one or more international financial institutions is also associated with the emergence of conflict in projects. Contrary to expectations, public consultation is associated with conflict in both subsectors. Overall, the study findings suggest that several factors associated with conflict in infrastructure projects can be minimized with careful project design.
Boyer, Robert. 2004. "New Growth Regimes, but still Institutional Diversity." Socio-Economic Review 2 (1):1-32.
Abstract: Whereas the American case may hint that product and labour market deregulation, venture capital and NASDAQ are necessary for the success of technologically led growth, international comparison suggests the coexistence of at least three successful configurations. Deregulated economies explore a science-pushed innovation, along with external labour flexibility and significant inequality in terms of competences. However, social democratic countries develop a cooperative approach to the knowledge-based economy: rather homogeneous educational level, lifelong learning, negotiation by social partners of the consequence of innovation and collectively organized labour mobility. There is a third configuration for some catching-up economies that use information technology as a method of leapfrogging: labour markets remain largely institutionalized and regulated, without exerting adverse impact upon macroeconomic performance.
Braun, Caelesta. 2013. "The Driving Forces of Stability: Exploring the Nature of Long-Term Bureaucracy-Interest Group Interactions." Administration & Society 45 (7):809-36.
Abstract: This article explores the nature of long-term interactions between bureaucrats and interest groups by examining two behavioral logics associated with stability in public policy making. In addition to the implicit short-term strategic choices that usually feature in resource-exchange explanations of interest group access to policy makers, this article shows that bureaucracy-interest group interactions are likely to be dictated by routine behavior and anticipating future consequences as well. By drawing on survey and face-to-face interview data of Dutch senior civil servants and interest groups, the analyses reveal that a practice of regular consultations, the need for political support, and a perceived influential position together explain why bureaucrats maintain interactions with interest groups. The combination of these behavioral logics adds important explanatory leverage to existing resource-exchange explanations and shows that organizational processes as well as long-term strategic considerations should be taken into account to fully explain bureaucracy-interest group interactions.
Breitmeier, Helmut, Arild Underdal, and Oran R. Young. 2011. The Effectiveness of International Environmental Regimes: Comparing and Contrasting Findings from Quantitative Research. International Studies Review 13(4): 579-605.
Abstract: This article uses quantitative methods to deepen and broaden our understanding of the factors that determine the effectiveness of international regimes. To do so, we compare and contrast the findings resulting from two major projects: the Oslo-Seattle Project and the International Regimes Database Project. The evidence from these projects sheds considerable light on the determinants of regime effectiveness in the environmental realm. Clearly, regimes do make a difference. By combining models and data from the two projects, we are able to move beyond this general proposition to explore the significance of a number individual determinants of effectiveness, including the distribution of power, the roles of pushers and laggards, the effects of decision rules, the depth and density of regime rules, and the extent of knowledge of the relevant problem. We show how important insights emerge not only from the use of statistical procedures to separate the effects of individual variables but also from the application of alternative techniques, such as Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA), designed to identify combinations of factors that operate together to determine the effectiveness of regimes. We use our results to identify a number of opportunities for additional research featuring quantitative analyses of regime effectiveness. Our goal is not to displace traditional qualitative methods in this field of study. Rather, we seek to sharpen a set of quantitative tools that can be joined together with the extensive body of qualitative studies of environmental regimes to strengthen our ability both to identify patterns in regime effectiveness and to explore the causal mechanisms that give rise to these patterns.
Bretthauer, Judith M. 2015. "Conditions for Peace and Conflict: Applying a Fuzzy-Set Qualitative Comparative Analysis to Cases of Resource Scarcity." Journal of Conflict Resolution 59 (4):593-616.
Abstract: This study applies fuzzy-set Qualitative Comparative Analysis (fsQCA) to the debate on links between resource scarcity and armed conflict. Previous studies on this relationship have reached contradictory results. This study aims to solve this contradiction by arguing that social, economic, and political conditions play an important role in determining whether armed conflict erupts over resource scarcity. I test three theoretic hypotheses, focusing on weak states, economic situations of households, and human ingenuity. I compare fifteen resource scarce cases with conflict to sixteen cases without armed conflict. My analysis supports the hypothesis that the economic situation of households and the levels of human ingenuity matter. In particular, the impact of high dependence on agriculture and low levels of tertiary education on the link between resource scarcity and conflict is discussed. While employing an fsQCA proves a valuable step in accounting for contradictory results, limits of the methods are apparent as well.
Breuer, Anita. 2009. "The Use of Government-Initiated Referendums in Latin America: Towards a Theory of Rederendum Causes." Revista De Ciencia Politica 29 (1):23-55.
Early this January, researchers who hope for funding from the National Science Foundation's (NSF) Divisions of Environmental Biology (DEB) and Integrative Organismal Systems (IOS)—ecologists; population biologists; zoologists; botanists; systematists; evolutionary biologists; and biodiversity, molecular-evolution, climate-change, and biological-systems researchers, among others—were busy writing their NSF proposals. But this year, the rules have changed. Whether the new way of submitting proposals will actually improve the review process remains to be seen. One important difference is that this year, for the first time, researchers have only one chance for core-program funding from these divisions.
In an interview published in BioScience in January (62: 17–22), John C. Wingfield, NSF head of the Directorate for Biological Sciences (BIO), went over many of the issues leading to the decision to change the timing of grant submissions and discussed some of the potential problems that researchers are now voicing. Many see this change as potentially devastating to their research programs and laboratories, whereas others are willing to take a wait-and-see approach. But for everyone, from program officers to division heads, researchers and their grad students and postdocs, this is both new and unfamiliar territory and nobody knows how it will turn out.
In August of last year, BIO announced new procedures for the submission of grant proposals in three of its divisions: Molecular and Cellular Biosciences (MCB), DEB, and IOS. Although the changes to MCB are the least dramatic—switching from two deadlines per year for full proposals to one deadline every eight months, ostensibly to allow more time for the revision of rejected proposals—DEB and IOS have been greatly changed. In those two divisions, there will be only one submission date per year. In the past, researchers had to submit a 15-page NSF proposal that included a budget, a data-management plan, a summer undergraduate program, and letters of collaboration. This was often followed by a second, different proposal that was submitted later in the year for a second deadline. Instead, researchers now write a four-page preliminary proposal, or preproposal, with a one-page summary. Writers of successful preproposals will be invited to submit full proposals. By now, those who submitted their first preproposals to the DEB or IOS core programs are awaiting reviewer comments and approval or rejection for the submission of a full proposal, which is due in August.
These changes also come with limitations on the number of grants submitted by principal investigators (PIs) or co-PIs per year. In MCB, it's only one. In DEB and IOS, it's two for each division.
This change in how programs are managed did not occur in a vacuum. In March 2006, in response to decreased success rates for proposals, the NSF established a group made up of representatives from each of the directorates and the director's office to “recommend policies and preferred practices to improve NSF's program announcement and solicitation processes in ways that achieve appropriate balances between proposal funding rates, award sizes and award durations.” Funding rates decreased from 30 to 21 percent from 2000 to 2006 across all of the NSF, but there was also a 47 percent increase in the number of proposals submitted during that time frame, although the sizes of grants were increasing. The NSF's Impact of Proposal and Award Management Mechanisms (IPAMM) working group released a report in August 2007 to address these issues. See box 1 for more information.
Box 1. For more information
How the Across-the-Board Cuts in the Budget Control Act Will Work, www.cbpp.org/cms/?fa=view&id=3635
National Science Foundation Merit Review Criteria and Process, http://csid-capr.unt.edu/fedora/repository/capr:354/OBJ
Impact of Proposal and Award Management Mechanisms, www.nsf.gov/pubs/2007/nsf0745/nsf0745.pdf
It was noted in the report that the increase in proposals with decreased percentages of funded proposals led to a greater amount of work for “the PI community, the reviewer community, and the NSF staff.”
The IPAMM working group made a number of recommendations. One was “the practice of limiting the number of proposals that a PI or institution can submit,” which it deemed “appropriate in some situations.” Another was implementing new proposal-management practices, including the use of preliminary proposals, although there were caveats. This method, the report stated, will “increase the complexity of the review process (and possibly NSF and reviewer workload).” Despite this concern, the divisions moved ahead with the change.
Some researchers have accused the NSF of not making these changes collaboratively. Others said that the decision to change the application methods was top-down, emanating from the highest level of management. And some, such as Kelly Zamudio, who studies the diversification and conservation of vertebrates at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, claim that “the system was broken” and that “something had to happen,” citing the “high volume of proposals that needed to be reviewed by the community and the demoralizing funding rate.” Joan Strassmann, from Washington University, in St. Louis, Missouri, feels so strongly about the BIO changes that she is blogging about them (http://sociobiology.wordpress.com). “Is the system badly broken?” she asked in her blog of 5 January 2012. “I think most DEB or IOS program officers would say that it is.”
But Mary Clutter, who retired as director of BIO five years ago, offered the long view. “I would not say the system is broken,” she said. “I don't believe that.” Instead, Clutter argued, there are “too many proposals. That's always been the case.” Over her 20 years at the NSF, she recalled a number of experiments aimed at decreasing the workload and increasing the grant success ratio, such as limiting the number of submissions per institution. Years ago, she discussed the advantages of preproposals with BIO advisory panels. They were not enthusiastic about a change, and she abandoned the idea, she said.
The new plan to submit preproposals was vetted before it was instituted. Jane Silverthorne, acting director of IOS, explained that this method was tested in something called “the big pitch,” a climate change proposal request. The proposals were submitted as 2-page summaries (synopsis proposals) and as full 15-page proposals. This method successfully identified the “best and worst” proposals, according to Silverthorne. An NSF presentation to the BIO advisory committee, “BIO FY10 Experiments in Innovation,” delivered 6 October 2010, outlined “the big pitch” and its results. The synopsis panel selected 7 projects for funding, with another 7 chosen by the traditional panel, for a total of 14 projects funded and a rate of 30 percent—which is higher than the overall funding rate for the NSF.
There was some overlap between the synopsis and traditional panels as far as identifying proposals that were “transformative,” “high quality,” or both. The synopsis panel focused on the project's significance and potential impact, and panelists were as confident in the outcomes of their reviews as those who saw the full proposals. Nevertheless, in some cases, the synopsis panel felt that more detail would have been better. This test is one reason that the preproposals are five pages in length (four for the proposal and one for the summary), since the panelists recommended a longer length than that used in the test. “We feel that that's enough space to develop an idea to make an argument for feasibility,” said Silverthorne.
But researchers are not necessarily embracing this new application method and its limitations. There are concerns that an annual funding cycle, rather than the former semiannual one, will lead to funding coming in too late to hire graduate students in September, when the semester begins; that it will limit the ability of young researchers to win their first grants; and that it will put funding renewals out of sync with laboratory staffing and workload needs. The limitation on proposals submitted by one PI or co-PI may affect the ability of researchers to collaborate or to serve as co-PI on postdoctoral researchers' applications.
Erika Edwards of Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, studies plant evolution. She is concerned that an annual cycle for grants may leave some labs without funding. It's “1.5 years from first submission to final award, if everything goes exactly right,” she explained. But “if your first preproposal is declined (as the vast majority will be), there really is no hope of getting any funding for your lab for 2.5 years from your time of first submission.” She is particularly concerned as an employer that the ebb and flow of grant money will affect her ability to sustain a research laboratory. “I have four postdocs and two PhD students; most are in various ways being supported by this [NSF] money. When the money goes away, it [affects] jobs.”
Edwards notes that taking in a graduate student is a five-year commitment, and a researcher needs to be able to pay for the grad student. If laboratories must wind down their work in a hiatus from NSF grant funds, not only will some laboratory jobs disappear but the continuity in running the lab “is going to get lost here.”
Chris Simon, professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Connecticut in Storrs, who studies cicadas, is concerned that if her current preproposal submission is not approved, the timing will leave her with an unacceptable funding gap. The next date for a full-proposal submission would be August 2013, the same month her current grant ends. “I would lose my long-time technician because she would have no health insurance, and my postdoc would be deported to South Africa,” she said. “Under the former system, I could have reapplied in January for funding in June.”
David Cannatella, a herpetologist who is a professor of integrative biology at the University of Texas, Austin, notes that “given the new timeline, there will be less flexibility in the start dates, and grad students [and] postdocs may have to wait another six months to start their appointments.”
Is 4 pages equal to 15?
For one thing, said researchers, 4 pages is certainly less to write than 15. For those who are not invited to submit a full proposal, that is all they will have to write, which will decrease their workload. Those invited to submit a full proposal will have an increased workload, at least for one grant. Strassmann wrote in her 5 January 2012 blog, “I think this (four pages) is enough space to put forth your big ideas [and] show how they advance the field and that they are feasible.” She told BioScience, “I do not think 15 pages is ever necessary.” She added, “Proposals I evaluate from Europe are mostly shorter than ours.”
But Simon disagreed—at least for her NSF program, Systematics and Biodiversity Science in DEB. “In my experience,” she recalled, “the proposal projects I reviewed all sounded good and appropriate.” She continued, “I've been reviewing NSF proposals for more than 20 years… the critical deciding factor has always been the details of the methods.” She noted that a four-page proposal leaves little space for preliminary data analyses or a description of the experiment's methodology.
Cornell's Zamudio looks at this as an actual decrease in grant-writing workload. She pointed out that in a normal year, she put in four to five proposals, each with a 9 percent chance of being funded. “We were basically overwriting proposals to gain one,” she explained. Now, she is allowed to submit only two grants on which she is a PI per year. “If they're as good as they were before, one or maybe two would get funded.”
Zamudio is among those who are concerned that this schedule makes it more difficult for young researchers, who have a learning curve until they write a successful NSF grant. But Keith Crandall, an evolutionary biologist who specializes in crustaceans and is professor and chair of the biology department at Brigham Young University, in Provo, Utah, was surprised to hear from young researchers that this schedule could be a good thing. They thought it might help them “focus on one or two key ideas… instead of putting in 9 or 10 grant proposals, and it was a crap shoot to get funding,” said Crandall.
In the BioScience interview, Wingfield prognosticated, “Once you make it through the first round, the funding rate will be much higher than it is now.”
But Mitchell Sogin of the Woods Hole Marine Biology Laboratory (MBL) in Massachusetts questioned that line of thinking: “What they're going to do is triage all these proposals so they can push their success rates up to 33 percent. That's not quite right.” Even Silverthorne noted that the overall success rate, counting the preproposals, will likely be the same as it is now.
Too many grants, too few reviewers
One of the drivers of this change was the difficulty in finding reviewers for an ever-increasing number of proposals. Silverthorne explained that in the last decade, the number of proposals received by IOS increased by 46 percent. During that time, the division also had to increase the number of review requests because of a declining rate of return. The standard NSF merit-review process, according to NSF documents, is a minimum of three levels of review for each proposal: The proposals are mailed to external reviewers, there is an internal panel of reviewers, and the program officers analyze the reviews and make the final decisions. Simon says that each full proposal is sent to 5 or 10 external reviewers, who are chosen by the program director. The internal panelists, made up of volunteers in the field (and who cannot have their own grants under consideration), read and summarize the external reviews and their own reviews. Simon thinks the review process could be streamlined by eliminating outside reviewers, who do not have the benefit of having seen all the proposals. The NSF has chosen to eliminate outside reviewers only for the preproposals, but not for the full proposals. The MBL's Sogin refuses to review proposals for DEB anymore, although he still reviews for other NSF directorates that have not implemented the new procedure. “I'm sympathetic [to] their problem, but the problem is [that] they have us writing too many grants in the first place,” he said.
The new method, noted Silverthorne, is a multiyear experiment. Meanwhile, she advised those who will have a lapse in funding under this new cycle to contact their program directors and to consider applying for grants, such as EArly-concept Grants for Exploratory Research (EAGER), that are reviewed internally with a rapid decision. For an example of what can happen when program funding is cut, see box 2.
Box 2. What happens when funding goes away?
Although the National Science Foundation (NSF) is not likely to lose huge amounts of funding in the upcoming budget, and may even receive a small increase, another government program, the US Geological Survey's (USGS) National Biological Information Infrastructure (NBII), which hosted databases and analytical tools for biological-resources research, was eliminated from the 2012 fiscal-year budget after previous cuts. Its Web site was closed down on 15 January 2012. And although some of the components of the Web site found homes elsewhere, others did not.
Ellen Paul, executive director of The Ornithological Council, noted that NBII never became what it should have been—a collection of distributed databases. “They went badly off course in the very beginning [during the Clinton administration] and created a random collection of stuff,” Paul said. Nevertheless, some of the databases were valuable and, as Paul pointed out, the NSF now requires grants to have a data-management plan, and some of the NBII databases could have been appropriate for some of the data generated in ecological and biological research.
Environmental health researcher Michael Lannoo, of the Indiana University School of Medicine, used NBII's North American Reporting Center for Amphibian Malformations (NARCAM). “I don't know its fate,” he said. But he complained that “there should have been negotiations to transfer responsibility for the Web site or to develop a consortium to take responsibility for the Web site. As far as I know, there's nothing out there that would replace it.”
J. Whitfield Gibbons of the University of Georgia's Savannah River Ecology Laboratory (SREL), in Aiken, South Carolina, noted in his final report to NBII on SREL's grant for scientific oversight and Web-site enhancement of the NARCAM database, that the grant was cut after only the first of five years because of budget cuts. “The objectives of this five-year project were extensive, but would have added greatly to our understanding of national and global environmental impacts on herpetofauna,” he wrote. In an e-mail to Elizabeth Martin of the USGS, who administered the database, he made it clear that this was a serious scientific loss: “Not completing these goals [of the grant] would appear to me to be a major loss to addressing questions about amphibian (as well as reptile) declines and so [it] might be helpful to be aware of when USGS again decides [that] these issues are important enough to provide funding to nongovernment organizations.”
For NSF-funded researchers who have no database in which to deposit their data, Silverthorne suggested contacting the NSF program director to discuss options.
The North American Reporting Center for Amphibian Malformations database was a repository of information on deformed amphibians, such as this eyeless gray tree frog (Hyla versicolor) tadpole. Photograph: Twan Leenders.
The North American Reporting Center for Amphibian Malformations database was a repository of information on deformed amphibians, such as this eyeless gray tree frog (Hyla versicolor) tadpole. Photograph: Twan Leenders.
Will across-the-board cuts hurt NSF grants?
The president's budget (box 3) calls for a small increase for NSF, but Congress must approve it. If Congress does not approve this increase, there are concerns that across-the-board federal budget cuts in the 2013 fiscal year (FY) will lead to cuts in programs get no special response from the NSF (box 3). Congress is supposed to cut discretionary spending by 9.1 percent for 2013, continuing, but with smaller cuts, downward in a steplike manner through 2021, at which point the cuts will be 5.5 percent. In the BioScience interview, Wingfield warned that there may be fewer or smaller grants, although he said that he “can't be more specific.”
Box 3. President Obama's fiscal year 2013 budget
In February, President Obama released his budget request for fiscal year 2013. Preliminary analysis suggests that science agencies fare reasonably well as compared with some other program areas. The president has proposed $140.8 billion for research and development (R&D) spending. Nondefense R&D would increase by approximately 5 percent from the 2012 level. The National Science Foundation (NSF) would receive $7.4 billion, a $340 million increase. The administration's funding priorities include cross-cutting research in advanced manufacturing, clean energy, wireless communications, and science and mathematics education.
NSF's research and related activities account would receive nearly $6 billion, a funding increase of roughly 5 percent. The Biological Sciences Directorate, which is funded from this account, could see an increase of $22 million (3.1 percent).
Silverthorne, too, said, “We have a plan.” But she added, “I think it would create more worry and concern to speculate in the absence of any information than to wait and see what happens.”
Cornell's Zamudio sees that decreases in federal grants may force researchers and universities to think creatively about funding. “Universities will have to talk about building centers through philanthropy,” she said. That, said Sogin, is exactly what the MBL is doing. Sogin's Bay Paul Center laboratory was formed “on the back of a two million dollar gift from a capital campaign.” He explained that the initial investment allowed him to establish a research program. “There are about 60 people who work in the center now; it is quite viable [but] it doesn't have very much in the bank,” he said.
Online sites, such as RocketHub.com, are used by some researchers to solicit small donations for specific projects. Its #SciFund Challenge raised more than $76,000 for scientific research projects for 49 researchers between 1 November and 15 December 2011 (scifund.wordpress.com) using a method called crowdfunding—the bundling of small, online donations from many sources.
The overwhelming problem for the NSF, budget cuts notwithstanding, is nothing new. According to Clutter, “There's never enough money for all the great ideas that are proposed.” Many in Congress support funding for scientific research. For example, Representative Chris Murphy of Connecticut stated, “Making strong investments in the sciences is important not only to research and innovation but to our future economic growth. Support for NSF's programs will help bring together the technological, entrepreneurial, and business know-how necessary to bring new innovations out of university laboratories.” Despite budget cuts in other areas (see box 2), Congress increased the NSF's research and development budget by 3.1 percent for FY2012.
Zamudio pointed out that scientific research today is collaborative, and the loss of some funding may not affect others in the field. “I've formed a network of people who study amphibian declines in South America. I may not get the grant, but it doesn't mean my network stops working. It doesn't mean that everything stops.”
© 2012 American Institute of Biological Sciences
With the aid of federal funds, Cornell's Kelly Zamudio, professor of ecology and evolutionary biology, studies Atelopus glyphus, a frog threatened by an amphibian-killing fungus. Photograph: Kelly Zamudio.
With the aid of federal funds, Cornell's Kelly Zamudio, professor of ecology and evolutionary biology, studies Atelopus glyphus, a frog threatened by an amphibian-killing fungus. Photograph: Kelly Zamudio.
Washington University biology professor Joan Strassmann blogs about the National Science Foundation's Directorate for Biological Sciences changes. Shown here, undergraduates Juan Masi (left), Damil Adefarati (second from left), and Kai Jones (second from right) plate soil samples to test hypotheses, aided by Strassmann's grad students Tracy Douglas (third from left) and Boahemaa Adu-Oppong (right). Photograph: Joan E. Strassmann.
Washington University biology professor Joan Strassmann blogs about the National Science Foundation's Directorate for Biological Sciences changes. Shown here, undergraduates Juan Masi (left), Damil Adefarati (second from left), and Kai Jones (second from right) plate soil samples to test hypotheses, aided by Strassmann's grad students Tracy Douglas (third from left) and Boahemaa Adu-Oppong (right). Photograph: Joan E. Strassmann.
Mitchell Sogin of Woods Hole, who studies marine microorganisms such as this protist, a dorataspid acantharian, thinks researchers need to look at other sources of funding and to rely less on National Science Foundation grants. Photograph: Linda Amaral-Zettler.
Mitchell Sogin of Woods Hole, who studies marine microorganisms such as this protist, a dorataspid acantharian, thinks researchers need to look at other sources of funding and to rely less on National Science Foundation grants. Photograph: Linda Amaral-Zettler.