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ECPR Futures Lab 2020

Set Theoretical Concept Formation and Formalization – A Concept Structural Approach to Compliance in the European Union

European Union
Political Methodology
Qualitative Comparative Analysis
Andreas Corcaci
Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität Frankfurt
Andreas Corcaci
Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität Frankfurt

This article addresses the question of how a set theoretical understanding of concept structures can link concept formation to formalization and empirical analysis. Drawing on Gary Goertz, four approaches to utilizing concept structures in research designs are developed. Illustrating a mid-range approach that includes theoretical and empirical frameworks and application via Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA), basic relations between the correctness of EU compliance and the willingness and ability to comply are established at the conceptual level through concept structures. Subsequently, explanatory patterns from 30 years of compliance research are carved out from the literature and conceptualized as conditions to explain the outcome ‘correct compliance’. The conditions and outcome are integrated into a comprehensive framework that can be formalized and applied via QCA. Based on a set theoretical approach, the article seeks to link concepts to empirical analysis through concept structures, ultimately enabling conceptually founded empirical research designs.
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