Do Event Attribution and Partisanship Shape Local Discussion of Climate Change after Extreme Weather? A Comment on Boudet et al. (2019)
3 Pages Posted: 10 Aug 2022 Last revised: 16 Aug 2022
Date Written: March 4, 2020
Which factors drive discussions on climate change following extreme weather events? Boudet et al. seek to answer this question from a social movement perspective. More specifically, they analyze the explanatory power of event-related, context-related and response-related factors by means of a method called Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA). The focus of this comment will be on the authors’ use of QCA in processing their data. Concretely, we will demonstrate that Boudet et al.’s clear findings resulted from a tweak in the Boolean optimization algorithm of QCA. When this analytical flaw is corrected, the evidence underlying the study’s conclusions vanishes almost completely. In addition, but independently of this problem, several causal inferences in the presented QCA solution are not supported by the data. In the remainder of this comment, we provide a brief description of QCA before summarizing the authors’ substantive findings. Subsequently, we explain what exactly went wrong in the original study, and reformulate the conclusions that can be drawn from a reanalysis of Boudet et al.’s data accordingly.
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