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The comparability of the universalism value over time and across countries in the European Social Survey: exact vs. approximate measurement invariance


Zercher, Florian; Schmidt, Peter; Cieciuch, Jan; Davidov, Eldad (2015). The comparability of the universalism value over time and across countries in the European Social Survey: exact vs. approximate measurement invariance. Frontiers in Psychology, 6:online.

Abstract

Over the last decades, large international datasets such as the European Social Survey (ESS), the European Value Study (EVS) and the World Value Survey (WVS) have been collected to compare value means over multiple time points and across many countries. Yet analyzing comparative survey data requires the fulfillment of specific assumptions, i.e., that these values are comparable over time and across countries. Given the large number of groups that can be compared in repeated cross-national datasets, establishing measurement invariance has been, however, considered unrealistic. Indeed, studies which did assess it often failed to establish higher levels of invariance such as scalar invariance. In this paper we first introduce the newly developed approximate approach based on Bayesian structural equation modeling (BSEM) to assess cross-group invariance over countries and time points and contrast the findings with the results from the traditional exact measurement invariance test. BSEM examines whether measurement parameters are approximately (rather than exactly) invariant. We apply BSEM to a subset of items measuring the universalism value from the Portrait Values Questionnaire (PVQ) in the ESS. The invariance of this value is tested simultaneously across 15 ESS countries over six ESS rounds with 173,071 respondents and 90 groups in total. Whereas, the use of the traditional approach only legitimates the comparison of latent means of 37 groups, the Bayesian procedure allows the latent mean comparison of 73 groups. Thus, our empirical application demonstrates for the first time the BSEM test procedure on a particularly large set of groups.

Abstract

Over the last decades, large international datasets such as the European Social Survey (ESS), the European Value Study (EVS) and the World Value Survey (WVS) have been collected to compare value means over multiple time points and across many countries. Yet analyzing comparative survey data requires the fulfillment of specific assumptions, i.e., that these values are comparable over time and across countries. Given the large number of groups that can be compared in repeated cross-national datasets, establishing measurement invariance has been, however, considered unrealistic. Indeed, studies which did assess it often failed to establish higher levels of invariance such as scalar invariance. In this paper we first introduce the newly developed approximate approach based on Bayesian structural equation modeling (BSEM) to assess cross-group invariance over countries and time points and contrast the findings with the results from the traditional exact measurement invariance test. BSEM examines whether measurement parameters are approximately (rather than exactly) invariant. We apply BSEM to a subset of items measuring the universalism value from the Portrait Values Questionnaire (PVQ) in the ESS. The invariance of this value is tested simultaneously across 15 ESS countries over six ESS rounds with 173,071 respondents and 90 groups in total. Whereas, the use of the traditional approach only legitimates the comparison of latent means of 37 groups, the Bayesian procedure allows the latent mean comparison of 73 groups. Thus, our empirical application demonstrates for the first time the BSEM test procedure on a particularly large set of groups.

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1 citation in Scopus®
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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Sociology
Dewey Decimal Classification:300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology
Uncontrolled Keywords:European Social Survey, approximate vs. exact measurement invariance, Portrait Value Questionnaire, universalism, Bayesian estimation, cross-national research, repeated cross-sections
Language:English
Date:2015
Deposited On:28 Jan 2016 10:53
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 19:55
Publisher:Frontiers Research Foundation
ISSN:1664-1078
Funders:University Research Priority Program “Social Networks” of the University of Zürich
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2015.00733

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