Research Handbook on Street-Level Bureaucracy
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Research Handbook on Street-Level Bureaucracy

The Ground Floor of Government in Context

Edited by Peter Hupe

When the objectives of public policy programmes have been formulated and decided upon, implementation seems just a matter of following instructions. However, it is underway to the realization of those objectives that public policies get their final substance and form. Crucial is what happens in and around the encounter between public officials and individual citizens at the street level of government bureaucracy. This Research Handbook addresses the state of the art while providing a systematic exploration of the theoretical and methodological issues apparent in the study of street-level bureaucracy and how to deal with them.
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Chapter 24: Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) as a tool for street-level bureaucracy research

Eva Thomann

Abstract

A more comparative approach is needed in order to facilitate theoretical progress in street-level bureaucracy research. Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) is a method that allows for systematic yet context-sensitive comparisons of intermediate to large numbers of cases. It accounts for the causes-of-effects types of research questions and the complexity facing implementation research. Using an empirical example, this chapter illustrates the possibilities for applying QCA to the study of street-level organizations and familiarizes the reader with the different steps of a QCA analysis. Street-level bureaucracy scholars using QCA in their research face challenges relating to limited empirical diversity, skewed data and robustness. They have innovative tools at their disposal to address these challenges in order to contribute to theory, ensure internal validity and engage in a rich dialogue with empirical cases.

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