Change search
ReferencesLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Comparing apples and oranges: The dependent variable problem in comparing and evaluating climate change adaptation policies
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Geography and Economic History. IDHEAP, Swiss Graduate School of Public Administration, Université de Lausanne, Switzerland.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-5098-7956
2013 (English)In: Global Environmental Change, ISSN 0959-3780, Vol. 23, no 6, 1476-1487 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

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.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2013. Vol. 23, no 6, 1476-1487 p.
Keyword [en]
Dependent variable problem, Comparative policy analysis, Climate change adaptation, Adaptation policy, Governance
National Category
Climate Research Environmental Sciences Social Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-86077DOI: 10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2013.07.022ISI: 000329881300012OAI: diva2:697232
Available from: 2014-02-17 Created: 2014-02-17 Last updated: 2014-02-17Bibliographically approved

Open Access in DiVA

No full text

Other links

Publisher's full text

Search in DiVA

By author/editor
Dupuis, Johann
By organisation
Department of Geography and Economic History
In the same journal
Global Environmental Change
Climate ResearchEnvironmental SciencesSocial Sciences

Search outside of DiVA

GoogleGoogle Scholar
The number of downloads is the sum of all downloads of full texts. It may include eg previous versions that are now no longer available

Altmetric score

Total: 15 hits
ReferencesLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link