The Added Value of Multi-Value Qualitative Comparative Analysis

Tim Haesebrouck


This article aims to qualify the skeptical view of many leading methodologists on multi-value Qualitative Comparative Analysis (mvQCA). More specifically, it draws attention to a distinctive strength of this QCA-variant. In contrast to the other QCA-variants, mvQCA is capable of straightforwardly capturing the specific causal role of every category of a multi-value condition. This provides it with an important advantage over both crisp set (csQCA) and fuzzy set QCA (fsQCA). fsQCA is not capable of capturing the causal effect of an intermediate category if, depending on the context, it can have a different impact than the full presence of the corresponding condition. csQCA, in turn, tends to attribute a causal role to the absence of condition values, which in the case of multi-value conditions often encompass very different cases. The article first discusses the comparative advantage of mvQCA with a constructed data set, after which it reanalyzes two published studies to demonstrate these advantages with empirical data.



methodology; qualitative comparative analysis (QCA); comparative analysis; causal complexity; multi-value QCA

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Copyright (c) 2015 Tim Haesebrouck

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