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Integrating macro and micro perspectives in cross-national comparison: Dynamic policy structures and individual outcomes

  • Start date: 01 April 2010
  • End date: 30 September 2012

Comparative research exploits variation in the attributes of macro-social units to understand the characteristics of, and relationships between, micro units nested within them. In the case of welfare state theory and social policy analysis, the macro units are usually either national jurisdictions or policy regimes; explanations concerning the nature and effectiveness of welfare state structures in terms of their outcomes for individuals and communities necessarily depend on systematic cross-national comparison.

The approach adopted in this research project is to combine comparisons of institutional social policy arrangements in a sizeable number (18) of countries with a rigorous analysis of the interaction between institutional arrangements, individuals' behaviour and policy outcomes in a small number (four) of disparate countries and to do so within an integrated modelling framework based on latent concepts, structural equation modelling (SEM) and longitudinal data.