Theofanis Exadaktylos & Claudio M. Radaelli, "Causal Explanation in Studies of Europeanisation", March 2010

How do political scientists working on Europeanisation approach causal explanation? What are the consequences of the choices made in research design for the causal effects found by different authors? This paper presents the results of a meta-analysis of 46 political science articles on Europeanisation published between 1997 and 2009. We analyse the sample with univariate, bivariate and logic regression models. The approach to causality chosen by the authors in the sample is statistically significative in determining where Europeanisation effects are found or not. We find that the probability of finding these effects depends on the presence or absence of a research design section, the utilisation of mechanisms-based explanation, and the inclusion or exclusion of normative issues. Overall, ideational explanations are preferred to structural explanations, and qualitative modes of analysis to quantitative approaches. Ideational approaches lead to policy-level explanations, whilst structuralist approaches determine a preference for politics-level explanations. Country selection is not even, with some countries more systematically explored, and others neglected. Finally, we group the operationalisations of the dependent variable and the causal mechanisms in categories, and discuss the implications for the analysis of causality.