Do miracles exist? Analyzing economic performance comparatively

B. Vis, J.J. Woldendorp, J.E. Keman

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)531-538
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Business Research
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2007

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