From a methodological point of view, CRISAUT combines quantitative and qualitative research techniques.
The team has already conducted more than fifty in-depth interviews with public officials from the regional and central public administrations as well as members of the civil society (specialized journalists, academics and social partners among others). The analysis of both parliamentary speeches by members of different political parties and the most relevant legislation related to fiscal consolidation has also been carried out. A codebook has been developed that identifies the determinants of fiscal consolidation in the Autonomous Communities (ACs). One of the most important contributions of the project consists of developing several databases. It shall proceed as follows:
1. The construction of different databases, to allow us to analyze the evolution of public deficit, expenditure and revenue levels of the analyzed CCAA in the period between 2002 and 2013 (it shall be noted that data from 2013 are published by the Ministry in 2015). The data used in this work mainly come from the database of liquidation of ACs budgets offered by the Spanish Ministry of Finance and Public Administration, through the General Secretariat of Regional and Local Coordination. Yet, it has been necessary to perform complex data adjustments (which show some special features when compared with the adjustments made by other experts) to ensure both temporal and territorial comparability.
2. The merger and cleaning of different databases from the Spanish Centre for Sociological Research (CIS), to reconstruct the evolution of public attitudes toward government spending from 1985 to 2014.
3. The development of a database that includes the reforms carried out by regional administrations derived from the process of fiscal consolidation.
From an analytical point of view, this research combines and applies to the Spanish sub-level concepts, categories and explanatory elements developed in the comparative study of the reforms of the welfare state and public administrations and policies, as well as elements that emerge from the recent comparative discussion on the effects of the financial crisis and government responses to it. CRISAUT is, thus, part of the scientific discussion that addresses the political strategies and the role of leadership and actors as determinants of the reform capacity.