‘Does Party Ideology Matter After All? A Mixed Methods Approach to Studying Welfare State Change under Left and Right Government Leadership’


When: 3 June 2015 (2-4 pm).      Where: Muirhead Tower, 710

Dr Stefan Kühner, University of York (http://stefan-kuehner.com/) will present:
Prominent works in the comparative welfare state literature argue that Left and Right government leadership ceased to matter for social policy outcomes. Yet, pooled time-series cross-section (TSCS) analyses of these claims have been limited by a bias on aggregate welfare state effort or social security generosity as the dependent variables; the operationalisation of government ideology by means of Left and Right cabinet shares; and/or the use of time-invariant veto point indices to account for different institutional contexts. This presentation employs fuzzy-set Qualitative Comparative Analysis (fs/QCA) to test whether combinations of Left and Right government leadership, cabinet centres of ideological gravity, shifts of ideological centres and constitutional structures were necessary or sufficient conditions for welfare state change across a sample of 108 governments in 12 high-income countries between 1979-2010.

Methodologically, the presentation demonstrates that fs/QCA presents a powerful technique for policy analysts attempting to test multiple public policy theories explaining identical social phenomena and develops more general processes in which fs/QCA can be systematically combined with alternative quantitative and qualitative research techniques. More substantively, it suggests that policy deliberation deserves more explicit attention in the comparative welfare state research particularly, but not exclusively, in political systems with higher degrees of diffuse executive power.

Coffees and cakes will be provided.

For more information or booking a place, please contact Monica Pinilla  MVP190@bham.ac.uk