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Eliciting beliefs as distributions in online surveys


Leemann, Lucas; Stoetzer, Lukas F; Traunmueller, Richard (2021). Eliciting beliefs as distributions in online surveys. Political Analysis, 29(4):541-553.

Abstract

Citizens’ beliefs about uncertain events are fundamental variables in many areas of political science. While beliefs are often conceptualized in the form of distributions, obtaining reliable measures in terms of full probability densities is a difficult task. In this letter, we ask if there is an effective way of eliciting beliefs as distributions in the context of online surveys. Relying on experimental evidence, we evaluate the performance of five different elicitation methods designed to capture citizens’ uncertain expectations. Our results suggest that an elicitation method originally proposed by Manski (2009) performs well. It measures average citizens’ subjective belief distributions reliably and is easily implemented in the context of regular (online) surveys. We expect that a wider use of this method will lead to considerable improvements in the study of citizens’ expectations and beliefs.

Abstract

Citizens’ beliefs about uncertain events are fundamental variables in many areas of political science. While beliefs are often conceptualized in the form of distributions, obtaining reliable measures in terms of full probability densities is a difficult task. In this letter, we ask if there is an effective way of eliciting beliefs as distributions in the context of online surveys. Relying on experimental evidence, we evaluate the performance of five different elicitation methods designed to capture citizens’ uncertain expectations. Our results suggest that an elicitation method originally proposed by Manski (2009) performs well. It measures average citizens’ subjective belief distributions reliably and is easily implemented in the context of regular (online) surveys. We expect that a wider use of this method will lead to considerable improvements in the study of citizens’ expectations and beliefs.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Political Science
Dewey Decimal Classification:320 Political science
Language:English
Date:1 October 2021
Deposited On:08 Feb 2021 12:02
Last Modified:25 Mar 2024 02:49
Publisher:Oxford University Press
ISSN:1047-1987
OA Status:Hybrid
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1017/pan.2020.42
Related URLs:https://www.zora.uzh.ch/id/eprint/181081/
  • Content: Accepted Version
  • Language: English
  • Licence: Creative Commons: Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)