Read this before running fsQCA

Just last week I wrote about two papers that examined the validity of QCA. They were by no means the first ones to do so, but that doesn’t make these papers any less important.

Now, QCA isn’t exactly static, even though it remains focused on its founding father. Fuzzyset QCA (fsQCA) is often used these days as it promises to overcome some of the shortcomings of QCA. Unfortunately, even if you buy into the concept and epistemology, the empirics still don’t add up.

Krogslund, Chris, Donghyun Danny Choi, and Mathias Poertner. 2014. “Fuzzy Sets on Shaky Ground: Parameter Sensitivity and Confirmation Bias in fsQCA.” Political Analysis, November, mpu016. doi:10.1093/pan/mpu016.

Krogslund and colleagues used simulations to check how robust fsQCA is. The approach is quite intriguing. Rather than using data generated in the computer as is often done in such situations, they have used three existing studies. After replicating these studies, they modified tiny bits. With a robust method, such tiny changes will not have a substantive impact on the results. With fsQCA, however, the results often changed radically: it is a very sensitive method.

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