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Revista Brasileira de Ciências Sociais

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SANTOS, André Marenco dos. When comparing to explain: designs of research and temporal sequences in the investigation on political institutions. Rev. bras. Ci. Soc. [online]. 2012, vol.27, n.80, pp.203-217. ISSN 0102-6909.

The argument of this paper is that the vocation of comparative studies is the search for generalizing causal inferences able to explain the formation, stability and change in political institutions. Initially, we tried to identify dilemmas in the institutional theory, located in the fragility of interpretations on institutions formation, as well as for the understanding of the conditions under which institutions appear to be able to cause the effects attributed to them; in the second section, we seek to show how the notion of comparison as a research strategy based on few cases, many variables, eventually reduces the potential for the construction of generalizing explanations. Finally, we sought to strengthen arguments for the incorporation of temporal intervals and sequences for comparative analysis.

Keywords : Comparative politics; Political institutions; Temporal sequences; Path-dependence.

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