Comparative Politics

Comparative Politics

Theoretical and Methodological Challenges

Edited by Dietmar Braun and Martino Maggetti

What are the conceptual and methodological challenges facing comparative politics today? This informative book discusses four main challenges that create stress for disciplinary reproduction and advancement, while providing potential solutions. In seven chapters, the contributors cover the most pressing issues: the dissolution of the nation-state as the main objective of inquiry; the increasing complexity of concepts and methods; the capacity to accumulate knowledge; and the tensions between parsimonious and contextually rich explanations.

Chapter 6: Knowledge progress in comparative politics

Martino Maggetti

Subjects: politics and public policy, european politics and policy, international politics


The extent to which knowledge can be systematically accumulated over time is a major issue in comparative politics. The goal of this chapter is to illustrate the problems of knowledge progress by using the example of the relation between economic development and democracy. Even in this case, which corresponds to a classic topic in comparative politics, findings are mixed and, contradictory, and imperfectly built upon a progressive research programme. To conclude, in a dedicated section, a number of pragmatic solutions are discussed, with reference to concept formation and new methodological developments such as systematic reviews and meta-analyses.

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