When is a country's economic performance miraculous? Current studies do not satisfactorily answer this question because shared standards are missing, as are genuine comparative analyses. This paper remedies these lacunas by proposing and applying a new conceptualization and operationalisation of miracles that allows for proper comparative research. The paper argues that miraculous performance requires excellence in terms of economic growth, employment, and public debt. A fuzzy-set ideal type analysis of 19 OECD countries over the period 1975-1999 shows that the distribution of miracles and other varieties of economic performance models is mixed and volatile, and suggests cross-national divergence. Cross validating these findings by means of a factor analysis produces similar results. The fuzzy-set technique is, however, preferable because this approach provides more information on the individual cases. This study's contribution is twofold: the findings further the miracle debate and demonstrate the value of fuzzy-set analysis for comparative research. © 2007 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.