The Difficulty of Measuring Institutions: a Methodological Approach to the Comparative Analysis of Institutions

The Difficulty of Measuring Institutions: a Methodological Approach to the Comparative Analysis... In the social sciences it is hardly contested that “institutions matter”. Consequently the analysis of differences and similarities of institutions should be a routine task. Prevailing methods to the measurement of institutions are however problematic, in particular when they have to deal with different levels of measurement. To overcome this, in this paper we present an innovative method to the quantification of qualitative institutional data. We do this by, first, developing benchmarks for comparison based on Weberian ideal types. Then we identify and operationalise the dimensions and indicators to a nuanced measurement of institutions, after which we apply a careful and differentiated scoring, weighting and aggregation procedure in order to guarantee the highest standards of comparability, transparency and reliability of the method. Finally, we demonstrate our method by applying it to the analysis of institutional individualisation in European welfare institutions. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Social Indicators Research Springer Journals

The Difficulty of Measuring Institutions: a Methodological Approach to the Comparative Analysis of Institutions

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Publisher
Springer Journals
Copyright
Copyright © 2017 by Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht
Subject
Social Sciences; Sociology, general; Quality of Life Research; Microeconomics; Public Health; Human Geography; Quality of Life Research
ISSN
0303-8300
eISSN
1573-0921
D.O.I.
10.1007/s11205-017-1638-9
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

In the social sciences it is hardly contested that “institutions matter”. Consequently the analysis of differences and similarities of institutions should be a routine task. Prevailing methods to the measurement of institutions are however problematic, in particular when they have to deal with different levels of measurement. To overcome this, in this paper we present an innovative method to the quantification of qualitative institutional data. We do this by, first, developing benchmarks for comparison based on Weberian ideal types. Then we identify and operationalise the dimensions and indicators to a nuanced measurement of institutions, after which we apply a careful and differentiated scoring, weighting and aggregation procedure in order to guarantee the highest standards of comparability, transparency and reliability of the method. Finally, we demonstrate our method by applying it to the analysis of institutional individualisation in European welfare institutions.

Journal

Social Indicators ResearchSpringer Journals

Published: May 23, 2017

References

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