Title

Beyond indices : the potential of fuzzy set ideal type analysis for cross-national analysis of policy outcomes

Document Type

Journal article

Source Publication

Policy and Society

Publication Date

12-1-2013

Volume

32

Issue

4

First Page

303

Last Page

317

Publisher

Elsevier B.V.

Abstract

League tables ranking performance outcomes within or between countries have become commonplace in most policy sectors in recent decades and there are numerous examples to be found in practice. UNICEF's 2007 Overview of Child Well-Being in Rich Countries offered a comprehensive and widely cited comparative analysis of children's well being in 21 of the richest countries of the world. Utilising an additive index the authors distilled a large amount of quantitative data relating to children's well being and were able to provide the most comprehensive snapshot of outcomes to date. Whilst an advantage of the method – and certainly a key factor in generating media coverage – was the way it allowed for a ranking of nations, recent debates in the comparative policy analysis literature have pointed to the advantages of methods that aim to classify nations into qualitatively distinct types rather than ranking them in league tables. These debates have particular force when multiple components of analysis are conceptually distinct or cases have widely varying contexts. Fuzzy set ideal type analysis (FSITA) has become an increasingly popular alternative approach to the additive index, precisely because it addresses these concerns. In this paper we explore the potential for using FSITA for the comparative analysis of children's well-being. Drawing on the same data and conceptual foundations as the 2007 UNICEF study we explore the potential advantages of utilising a diversity oriented method such as FSITA as tool for policy evaluation that eschews ranking in favour of classifying.

DOI

10.1016/j.polsoc.2013.10.003

Print ISSN

14494035

E-ISSN

18393373

Publisher Statement

Copyright © 2013 Policy and Society Associates (APSS). Elsevier Ltd.

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Recommended Citation

Hudson, J., & Kühner, S. (2013). Beyond indices: The potential of fuzzy set ideal type analysis for cross-national analysis of policy outcomes. Policy and Society, 32(4), 303-317. doi: 10.1016/j.polsoc.2013.10.003