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New Open Access "Measuring satisfaction with democracy: how good are different scales across countries and languages?"

New Open Access "Measuring satisfaction with democracy: how good are different scales across countries and languages?"

By Carlos Poses (RECSM Researcher) and Melanie Revilla (RECSM Deputy Director) in European Political Science Review.

08.03.2022

 

Abstract

The Satisfaction With Democracy (SWD) indicator is very often used in social sciences’ research. However, while there is debate about which concept it measures, the discussion about the size of its measurement errors (how well it measures the underlying concept ‘satisfaction with the way democracy works’) is scarce. Nonetheless, measurement errors can affect the results and threaten comparisons across studies, countries and languages. Thus, in this paper, we estimated the measurement quality (complement of measurement errors) of the SWD indicator for 7 response scales across 38 country-language groups, using three multitrait-multimethod experiments from the European Social Survey. Results show that measurement errors explain from 16% (11-point scale) to 54% (4-point scale) of the variance in the observed responses. Additionally, we provide insights to improve questionnaire design and evaluate the indicator’s comparability across scales, countries and languages.

 

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