Measurement and Analysis of European Social Relations Dialogue Aggregates: What is the relevant unit of Analysis in Comparitive Research?

Research output: Working paper


There is a long tradition in comparative research on social dialogue of analysis concentrating on differences and similarities between countries, i.e. focusing on aggregates measured at the national level. But what happens if there are no differences in social dialogue systems between countries (anymore)? Is comparative research becoming meaningless? In this article it is argued that over recent decades social dialogue systems have changed in such a way that the national level has become less relevant. It is explained that this development in the nature of the field effects the measurement of its indicators which form the backbone of any comparison. On the basis of an empirical comparison of social dialogue indicators in the European Union it is concluded that comparative research has not reached a dead end, but that the field has to reconsider the relevant unit for analysis. It is argued that the relevant unit of analysis has shifted from the national towards the sectoral level. The methodological consequence of this shift is that, in general, comparisons between sectors are more informative than between countries.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2014

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