Title: Measuring Political Support and Issue Ownership Using Endorsement Experiments, with Application to the Militant Groups in Pakistan
Location: International Affairs Building, Room 711, 420 West 118th St.
Kosuke Imai, Princeton University
To measure the levels of support for political actors (e.g., candidates and parties) and the strength of their issue ownership, survey experiments are often conducted in which respondents are asked to express their opinion about a particular policy endorsed by a randomly selected political actor. These responses are contrasted with those from a control group that receives no endorsement. This survey methodology is particularly useful for studying sensitive political attitudes. We develop a Bayesian hierarchical measurement model for such endorsement experiments, demonstrate its statistical properties through simulations, and use it to measure support for Islamist militant groups in Pakistan. Our model uses item response theory to estimate support levels on the same scale as the ideal points of respondents. The model also estimates the strength of political actors’ issue ownership for specific policies as well as the relationship between respondents’ characteristics and support levels. Our analysis of a recent survey experiment in Pakistan reveals three key patterns. First, citizens’ attitudes towards militant groups are geographically clustered. Second, once these regional differences are taken into account, respondents’ characteristics have little predictive power for their support levels. Finally, militant groups tend to receive less support in the areas where they operate.
Start Time: 11:00
End Time: 12:30