Methodological updates for constructivist research on international organizations: the case of fiscal policy and structural reforms in the EU

Friday, 3 July 2015: 4:00 PM-5:30 PM
TW1.1.04 (Tower One)
Cornel Ban, Boston University, Boston, MA
Traditionally, scholars interested in the role of economic ideas in international organizations have used in their work a combination of process tracing, case studies, comparative historical analysis and discourse analysis. More recently, some constructivists interested in the causal role of the ideas of the professionals staffing these organizations have also deployed regressions and sequence analysis as their methodologies of choices. The proposed paper contributes to these methodological innovations by arguing that additional analytical leverage can be obtained from the computer-assisted integration of (a) content analysis (CA) performed on policy documents and (b) the regression analysis (RA) and network analysis (NA) of biographical information IO staff about individual actors involved in the policy process who authored or were cited in the coded policy documents. The strength of this methodological mix (CARANA) is that it enables scholars to make more systematic evaluations of how the ideas, professional experiences and institutional positions of IO staff shaped the policy choices they made with regard to different policy scenarios competing for influence. To illustrate CARANA’s value added, I will use it to solve the puzzle of the policy differences between the ECB, the European Commission and the IMF with regard to the pace and content of fiscal policy and structural reforms in the EU.