A Realist Approach to Policy Design

  • Guillaume FontaineEmail author
  • Cecilia Medrano Caviedes
  • Iván Narváez
Part of the International Series on Public Policy book series (ISPP)


This chapter presents the realist approach that provided our analytical framework. It defines the causal mechanism of a policy outcome from a realist methodology, then it displays a method of cross-case comparison for policy design, including the case selection, and it unpacks the causal mechanism linking resource nationalism to a deficit of public accountability. Section 2 is dedicated to unpack the causal mechanism of a policy outcome in policy design. It starts with defining causality as necessity and causal mechanisms as causal forces, then it proceeds with optimizing case selection for small-n comparison. Section 3 explains how to conduct a cross-case comparison of this causal mechanism. It starts presenting the basics of set-theoretic research design, then it explains how the Bayesian logic of likelihood can be utilized to assess empirical evidence, and it proposes a template for comparative policy design.


Critical realism Multi-methods Comparative policy analysis Bayes Resource nationalism Public accountability 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Guillaume Fontaine
    • 1
    Email author
  • Cecilia Medrano Caviedes
    • 2
  • Iván Narváez
    • 1
  1. 1.Latin American Faculty for Social SciencesQuitoEcuador
  2. 2.Center for International StudiesParisFrance

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