Can We Improve the Measurement of Attitudes Towards the Welfare State? A Constructive Critique of Survey Instruments with Evidence from Focus Groups
AbstractThere is a large and growing literature on welfare state attitudes, most of which is built on random-sample population surveys with standardised closed-question items. This article criticises the existing survey instruments, especially those that are used within the International Social Survey Programme, in a novel approach with focus group data from Germany. The article demonstrates: firstly, these instruments underestimate the inconsistency (the degree to which attitudes logically contradict each other), the uncertainty (the degree to which individuals are unsure about what to think), the ambivalence (the simultaneous occurrence of positive and negative reactions) and non-attitudes towards welfare state activities that common people have. Secondly, the meaning of these items to respondents seems to vary to such an extent that inference based on such measures is questionable. Finally, the article concludes by suggesting some survey instruments that alleviate these measurement problems. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoArticle provided by Springer in its journal Social Indicators Research.
Volume (Year): 109 (2012)
Issue (Month): 3 (December)
Contact details of provider:
Web page: http://www.springer.com/economics/journal/11135
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Anne Lindsay & Anita Hubley, 2006. "Conceptual Reconstruction through a Modified Focus Group Methodology," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 79(3), pages 437-454, December.
- Anders Wikman, 2007. "Context Effects as an Illustration of Response Uncertainty –A Cautionary Tale," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 84(1), pages 27-38, October.
- Runt Veenhoven, 2002.
"Why Social Policy Needs Subjective Indicators,"
Social Indicators Research,
Springer, vol. 58(1), pages 33-46, June.
- Veenhoven, Ruut, 2001. "Why social policy needs subjective indicators," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Social Structure and Social Reporting FS III 01-404, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
- Carson, Richard T & Flores, Nicholas A, 2000.
"Contingent Valuation: Controversies and Evidence,"
University of California at San Diego, Economics Working Paper Series
qt75k752s7, Department of Economics, UC San Diego.
- Valerie Møller & Ida Erstad & Dalinyebo Zani, 2010. "Drinking, Smoking, and Morality: Do ‘Drinkers and Smokers’ Constitute a Stigmatised Stereotype or a Real TB Risk Factor in the Time of HIV/AIDS?," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 98(2), pages 217-238, September.
- Tito Boeri & Axel Börsch-Supan & Guido Tabellini, 2001. "Would you like to shrink the welfare state? A survey of European citizens," Economic Policy, CEPR & CES & MSH, vol. 16(32), pages 7-50, 04.
- Ram Cnaan, 1989. "Public opinion and the dimensions of the welfare state," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 21(3), pages 297-314, June.
- Anders Wikman, 2006. "Reliability, Validity and True Values in Surveys," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 78(1), pages 85-110, 08.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Guenther Eichhorn) or (Christopher F Baum).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.