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Measurement equivalence across subnational groups: an analysis of the conception of nationhood in Switzerland


Sarrasin, Oriane; Green, Eva G T; Berchtold, André; Davidov, Eldad (2013). Measurement equivalence across subnational groups: an analysis of the conception of nationhood in Switzerland. International Journal of Public Opinion Research, 25(4):522-534.

Abstract

Because of their higher status, members of national majorities (e.g., linguistic, ethnic, or religious) are likely to develop a stronger sense of ownership of the nation than members of national minorities (Sidanius, Feshbach, Levin, & Pratto, 1997), which is reflected in a stronger attachment to the nation as a whole (e.g., Staerklé, Sidanius, Green, & Molina, 2010). Accordingly, members of national majorities are expected to hold a stricter conception of nationhood, that is to be stricter regarding who should or should not belong to the national community (Kunovich, 2009). Based on data from two large surveys (European Social Survey [ESS] 2002, International Social Survey Programme [ISSP] 2003), the present study tests this expectation by comparing conceptions of nationhood across the two largest linguistic subnational groups in Switzerland. However, observed differences between the groups can either reflect substantive differences or result from measurement artifacts, as distinctive features of the subnational groups (e.g., different languages; Davidov & De Beuckelaer, 2010) may impact the measurement itself. Therefore, measurement equivalence should be tested for before undertaking substantive mean comparisons (e.g., Steenkamp & Baumgartner, 1998). While measurement equivalence testing is frequently carried out in cross-national studies (e.g., Davidov, 2009; Reeskens & Hooghe, 2010), it is rarely established when comparing data drawn from distinct national subgroups within countries (see, however, Billiet, 2003; Billiet, Maddens, & Beerten, 2003). Thus, this study has both a substantive and a methodological rationale: Beyond testing the assumption that members of national majorities hold a stricter conception of nationhood than members of national minorities, it aims at illustrating the necessary steps of analysis–using exploratory and multigroup confirmatory factor analyses–for conducting valid latent mean comparisons across subnational groups.

Because of their higher status, members of national majorities (e.g., linguistic, ethnic, or religious) are likely to develop a stronger sense of ownership of the nation than members of national minorities (Sidanius, Feshbach, Levin, & Pratto, 1997), which is reflected in a stronger attachment to the nation as a whole (e.g., Staerklé, Sidanius, Green, & Molina, 2010). Accordingly, members of national majorities are expected to hold a stricter conception of nationhood, that is to be stricter regarding who should or should not belong to the national community (Kunovich, 2009). Based on data from two large surveys (European Social Survey [ESS] 2002, International Social Survey Programme [ISSP] 2003), the present study tests this expectation by comparing conceptions of nationhood across the two largest linguistic subnational groups in Switzerland. However, observed differences between the groups can either reflect substantive differences or result from measurement artifacts, as distinctive features of the subnational groups (e.g., different languages; Davidov & De Beuckelaer, 2010) may impact the measurement itself. Therefore, measurement equivalence should be tested for before undertaking substantive mean comparisons (e.g., Steenkamp & Baumgartner, 1998). While measurement equivalence testing is frequently carried out in cross-national studies (e.g., Davidov, 2009; Reeskens & Hooghe, 2010), it is rarely established when comparing data drawn from distinct national subgroups within countries (see, however, Billiet, 2003; Billiet, Maddens, & Beerten, 2003). Thus, this study has both a substantive and a methodological rationale: Beyond testing the assumption that members of national majorities hold a stricter conception of nationhood than members of national minorities, it aims at illustrating the necessary steps of analysis–using exploratory and multigroup confirmatory factor analyses–for conducting valid latent mean comparisons across subnational groups.

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4 citations 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
Language:English
Date:2013
Deposited On:20 Nov 2012 14:39
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 16:05
Publisher:Oxford University Press
Series Name:International Journal of Public Opinion Research
ISSN:0954-2892
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1093/ijpor/eds033
Permanent URL: https://doi.org/10.5167/uzh-66834

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