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Identification and estimation of latent attitudes and their behavioral implications

  • Richard Spady

    (Institute for Fiscal Studies and Johns Hopkins)

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    This paper (i) formalizes conditions under which a population distribution of categorical responses to attitudinal questions (ѩtemsҩ has a scale representation; (ii) develops tests for whether a particular sample of item responses is consistent with a scale representation; (iii) develops methods for nonparametrically estimating the relation between an outcome and a scale value; and (iv) generalizes the foregoing to the multi-scale case. An implication of these results is that the effect of multiple latent attitudes on behaviour can be identified, even though the attitudes of an individual can never be precisely observed. We illustrate our methods using survey data from the 1992 U.S. Presidential election, where the ѯutcome' is an individual's vote and the ѩtems' are expressions of social and policy preferences.

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    File URL: http://cemmap.ifs.org.uk/wps/cwp1206.pdf
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    Paper provided by Centre for Microdata Methods and Practice, Institute for Fiscal Studies in its series CeMMAP working papers with number CWP12/06.

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    Length: 30 pp.
    Date of creation: Jun 2006
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:ifs:cemmap:12/06
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