Chapter 3: PPP in Western Europe: challenges for comparative research
This chapter focuses on the methods and empirical results of a qualitative and quantitative comparison of PPP activities across Western European states. It introduces and tests variables which could correlate with the level of PPP activity in a country. Therefore, using EIB data, a quantitative assessment of the number and volume of PPP projects between 1990 and 2009 is correlated with a range of variables which are assumed to promote (or hinder) PPP activity. The independent variables are grouped as institutional, socioeconomic and control variables. Methods applied are bivariate correlations and a Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA). The selection of cases and variables is one of the most crucial steps in developing a research design. In order to minimize selection bias, this study focuses on the politics of PPP in the EU 15 minus Luxembourg, that is Austria (AT), Belgium (BE), Germany (DE), Denmark (DK), Greece (EL), Spain (ES), Finland (FI), France (FR), Ireland (IE), Italy (IT), the Netherlands (NL), Portugal (PT), Sweden (SE) and the United Kingdom (UK). While this chapter applies simple quantitative methods and a QCA, chapters 4 to 9 focus on qualitative case comparisons. There, the 14 states are grouped into four pairs and two groups of three for the purposes of qualitative comparison. These case groupings combine the possibilities of in-depth case studies with pairwise or small-N case comparisons. Furthermore, the concluding chapter provides a qualitative comparative assessment of all 14 cases, in order to further condense the generalized results.
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