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Using Qualitative Comparative Analysis to Study Causal Order

Political Alliances Just as for public opinion, the operationalization of the political alliances condition differs depending on whether we are looking at the cross-movement analysis or at the crossnational analysis. However, this condition is first standardized in order to find a meaningful common threshold within the cross-movement analysis and within the cross-national analysis. To do so, based on the variable used by Giugni (2004), we first identify the percentage of democratic seats in the United States, of communist seats in Italy,14 and of leftist parties in Switzerland. These are the three parties which are politically and ideologically closest to the new social movements and, more specifically, to the three movements under study. Then we multiplied these percentages by the “effective number of parties” index (ENP) (Laakso and Taagepera 1979) in order to control for the level of fragmentation of parliamentary seats per party.15 For the cross-movement analysis, the threshold for the political alliance condition is set to 127 in an inductive way by looking at the distribution of the condition. Indeed, this cutoff point seems most justified as it allows a unique value to dichotomize this condition across all three movements without generating any contradictions. Since the condition is standardized in the ENP, a common cut-off point makes sense. For the cross-national analysis, the threshold is set to 121 for Italy and the United States, and 152 for Switzerland. This difference of value despite the standardization procedure is motivated by the reduction of contradictory cases, which are numerous in the case of a single common threshold value of 121 for all countries.16 It should be noted that in the analysis done by Giugni (2004) there are several missing values due to a lack of sources at the time of the study. Specifically, no data were available for Italian public opinion on ecology and nuclear energy issues, nor for the Swiss public opinion on the military spending issue. We managed to find these data through the Eurobarometer for Italian public opinion and through an existing publication for Swiss public opinion (Haltiner, Spillmann, and Wenger 1999). With this additional information, we managed to eliminate all missing data for our truth table analysis. Tables 3 to 5 show the truth tables for the cross-movement analysis, while tables 6 to 8 show those for the cross-national analysis. Table 3. Truth Table for the Ecology Movement Cases Protests Public Opinion Political Alliances Policy Change IT-E (84-88) 1 1 0 1 CH-E (85-86), US-E (87-90) 1 0 0 1 US-E (75-77) 1 0 1 0 IT-E (80-83), US-E (92-93) 0 1 0 0 CH-E (76-77), CH-E (91-93) 0 0 1 0 US-E (80-81) 0 0 0 0 Policy Impacts of Social Movements