Explaining transformations of care in European societies: analytical and methodological challenges

Tuesday, June 25, 2013
2.22 (Binnengasthuis)
Margarita Leůn , Universitat AutÚnoma de Barcelona
European countries are confronted with similar demographic, social and financial pressures in relation to their need to develop their care regimes although the policy responses to those pressures vary significantly among the different countries. An interesting research question then becomes the extent and nature of  the ‘care deficit’ problem in European societies and how effective the different care regimes are in dealing with these problems through policy innovation. However, in comparative research the definition of (and distinction between) dependent and independent variables are often underspecified deriving in problems of causality. We propose in this paper to look at the ‘care deficit’ issue by making quantity and quality of care and working conditions of carers as our dependent variables and the institutional and socio-economic contexts where the care sector is embedded as our independent variables. The paper will attempt to specify these variables, their interactions and the indicators that will measure them, in a theoretically meaningful way. Moreover, given the nature of these dependent and independent variables, research often needs to combine quantitative/qualitative analyses on the one hand with cross-national/in-depth national case studies on the other. The paper will reflect on these methodological challenges when attempting to compare developments in care provision across countries.