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.
Dietmar Braun and Martino Maggetti
Olivier Giraud and Martino Maggetti
This chapter proposes an assessment of the various strategies implying the use of mixed methods in comparative politics. In the contemporary literature, methodological pluralism is an important tool to overcome inherited methodological rifts and strengthen the validity of results. The chapter presents the distinctive advantages and limitations of quantitative and qualitative research, discusses various types of mixed-method research and suggests going beyond the distinction between qualitative and quantitative research. A pluralist research method implies specific epistemological assumptions. It is argued that there should be a good fit between methods, their degree of sophistication and their concrete added value. Lastly, this chapter shows how mixed research strategies are able to integrate the understanding and explanatory potential of varied research traditions, and allow researchers to reinforce research designs in comparative politics and to better triangulate, test and validate research results.
Martino Maggetti and Dietmar Braun
Theoretical and Methodological Challenges
Edited by Dietmar Braun and Martino Maggetti
Miroslava Scholten, Martino Maggetti and Esther Versluis
The focus of this chapter is on the shift of direct enforcement power from the national to the European Union (EU) level (‘verticalization’) and accountability in this new system of shared enforcement. Has the shift of direct enforcement power been accompanied by the establishment of an appropriate accountability system? What have we learned about accountability for enforcement, including in a multi-level setting? Based on the comparative insights of the legal frameworks of all EU Enforcement Authorities and relevant national enforcement authorities, it shows that political accountability for enforcement tasks is overall quite weak. While the overall degree of accountability of EEAs is not very high, in some types of relationships it is higher than in others. The powerful EEAs are formally more accountable, although they are so mostly by judicial means. The chapter concludes with highlighting three challenges to accountability in shared enforcement – those which limit/restrict the scope of political accountability; those which hinder/weaken execution of accountability; and those which undermine the very existence of accountability – and directions for necessary further research in the emerging field of shared enforcement in the EU.