Comparing apples and oranges: The dependent variable problem in comparing and evaluating climate change adaptation policies. Dupuis, J. and Biesbroek, R. Global Environmental Change.
Comparing apples and oranges: The dependent variable problem in comparing and evaluating climate change adaptation policies [link]Paper  doi  abstract   bibtex   
Abstract An increasing number of studies have compared climate change adaptation policies within and between different countries. In this paper we show that these comparative studies suffer from what is known as the “dependent variable problem’ – the indistinctness of the phenomenon that is being measured, and disagreement on its scope and boundaries. This problem has been signaled in other scientific fields where it proved to hamper meaningful comparisons and policy evaluations, transnational learning, and policy transfer. This paper aims to raise consciousness of the dependent variable problem in comparative studies on climate change adaptation policy by exploring its origins and proposes ways to deal with it. Three main sources of the problem are discussed: (1) conceptual indistinctness of adaptation policy and the heterogeneity and lack of consistency of what is being compared between cases. (2) Inadequate research designs to compare cases. (3) Unclear indicators and explanatory variables to compare across cases. We propose a way to operationalize the concept of adaptation policy, provide a narrower description of the research designs for policy change or outcomes analysis, and finally discuss possible measurements concepts.
@article{dupuis_comparing_????,
	title = {Comparing apples and oranges: {The} dependent variable problem in comparing and evaluating climate change adaptation policies},
	issn = {0959-3780},
	shorttitle = {Comparing apples and oranges},
	url = {http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0959378013001283},
	doi = {10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2013.07.022},
	abstract = {Abstract
An increasing number of studies have compared climate change adaptation policies within and between different countries. In this paper we show that these comparative studies suffer from what is known as the “dependent variable problem’ – the indistinctness of the phenomenon that is being measured, and disagreement on its scope and boundaries. This problem has been signaled in other scientific fields where it proved to hamper meaningful comparisons and policy evaluations, transnational learning, and policy transfer. This paper aims to raise consciousness of the dependent variable problem in comparative studies on climate change adaptation policy by exploring its origins and proposes ways to deal with it. Three main sources of the problem are discussed: (1) conceptual indistinctness of adaptation policy and the heterogeneity and lack of consistency of what is being compared between cases. (2) Inadequate research designs to compare cases. (3) Unclear indicators and explanatory variables to compare across cases. We propose a way to operationalize the concept of adaptation policy, provide a narrower description of the research designs for policy change or outcomes analysis, and finally discuss possible measurements concepts.},
	urldate = {2013-08-26},
	journal = {Global Environmental Change},
	author = {Dupuis, Johann and Biesbroek, Robbert},
	keywords = {Adaptation policy, Climate change adaptation, Comparative policy analysis, Dependent variable problem, governance},
	file = {ScienceDirect Full Text PDF:files/47223/Dupuis and Biesbroek - Comparing apples and oranges The dependent variab.pdf:application/pdf;ScienceDirect Full Text PDF:files/47225/Dupuis and Biesbroek - Comparing apples and oranges The dependent variab.pdf:application/pdf}
}
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