ESRA 2019 Programme at a Glance

Factorial Surveys - Methods and Applications 3

Session Organisers Dr Lena M. Verneuer (University of Bielefeld)
Professor Stefanie Eifler (Catholic University of Eichstätt-Ingolstadt)
Dr Hermann Dülmer (University of Cologne)
TimeThursday 18th July, 16:00 - 17:30
Room D30

Since vignette-designs (e.g. factorial surveys; scenario techniques) as indirect measurement
techniques are very common in the social sciences by now, many different applications
can be found. Depending on theoretical and methodological objectives, the
applied techniques vary in a broad range and lead to different and sometimes inconsistent
results. Due to this diversity, findings on methodological and substantial issues
can have different meanings and impacts for further research.
This session chooses one way of anticipating the divers field of factorial surveys and
vignette-designs in general and aims at shedding light on the stage of affairs by discussing
recent developments and pooling new findings of projects that try to enrich the
discussion. The focus of the session is explicitly broad and all contributions dealing
with different analytical strategies, empirical designs or substantial research that make
use of factorial surveys or other vignette-designs are welcome. Papers matching one of
the following aspects are cordially invited to be part of this session:

• comparison and discussion of design-related questions regarding methodological
or substantive aspects,
• new developments in measuring intentions with vignettes,
• theoretical ideas for modelling the relationship between intentions and behavior
for further empirical analyses,
• cross validation strategies (new approaches, replications),
• discussion of (dis-)advantages of vignette-designs, validations strategies and/or
• issues of data-collection,
• substantive applications of factorial surveys

Keywords: Factorial Surveys; Vignette-Designs;

What is Fair? Introducing a Modified Survey Experiment for the Assessment of Attitudes towards Distributive Justice

Ms Sandra Gilgen (University of Bern) - Presenting Author

Questions of distributive justice are not only important for the understanding of voting outcomes and the development of policies but are also core for our understanding of human nature. The main aim of the contribution is to find out who relies on which principles of justice (equality, merit or need) in which situations and why? In order to address problems of social desirability bias and to measure people’s justice attitudes in a direct manner, I developed a modified version of a survey experiment. In this modified design, respondents are asked to distribute a specified amount of money among three people described in vignettes. This approach combines the possibilities of distribution tasks in laboratory settings with the interdependency and visual presentation of a choice experiment and the convenient metric outcomes of factorial surveys. The method also allows us to consider the complex interplay of individual-level, contextual and situational factors in the formation of justice attitudes. Since the experiment is embedded in a PAPI or online questionnaire (respondents’ choice), this allows us to analyse the results of the survey experiment in combination with other questions and socio-demographic variables. Another advantage of the method (compared to laboratory experiments) is that the situation can easily be adapted, in this case to include distributions among family members, friends, students applying for scholarships and at the workplace. For external validity and as a means of testing the influences of context, the survey was distributed among a random sample of the Swiss general population, as well as to two student populations at the University of Bern, Switzerland and the University of Princeton, USA. The contribution discusses the various possibilities for analysing the data from the modified survey experiment. Needless to say, these methods are also applied for a presentation of the key results of the study.

When is Redistribution between Regions Perceived as Just? A Factorial Survey on Regional Inequality in Germany

Mr Jan Gniza (University Erlangen-Nuremberg) - Presenting Author
Professor Martin Abraham (University Erlangen-Nuremberg)

Germany shows considerable regional disparities in economic and living conditions. To reduce these disparities, several regional redistributive instruments exist, for example mechanisms for financial equalization and regional business development programmes. An important characteristic of redistributive regional measures is that some regions benefit and others are net contributors to these mechanisms. So, if we want to evaluate the perceived justice of a redistribution process it may depend if we focus on the distribution of the benefits or if we assess the occurrence of the contributions. We assume that each of these two parts of the redistribution will be assessed in subject to different justice principles. Current literature lacks in justice explanations and appropriate methods that separate the process of redistribution into distributions and contributions and analyse the role of each part for overall acceptance.
We fill this gap by using a new approach for our factorial survey design whereby we vary regional characteristics in a hypothetical funding situation. The new approach is that we divide the hypothetical funding programme into two parts which are assessed by each respondent in a small-time interval. In the first part, respondents give a justice rating on different regions (5 vignettes) that get a funding from the programme (distribution part). In the second part, respondents evaluate justice if a region (5 further vignettes) must pay for the hypothetical program (contribution part). We conducted the factorial survey in August 2018 via Norstat online access panel with a sample of total n=1614 respondents.
Our methodical approach enables us to analyse how respondents assess identical vignettes under various conditions. We can identify contradictorily perceptions revealed by two different questions on identical vignettes. We would appreciate to present our approach and discuss advantages, disadvantages and possible further applications.

What Factors Increase the Moral Justifiability of Tax Evasion? Empirical Evidence from a Factorial Survey

Dr Edurne Bartolome Peral (University of Deusto) - Presenting Author
Dr Hermann Dülmer (University of Cologne)

States are forced to collect revenues in order to fund public goods that benefit their collectivity. Since taxes reduce one`s disposable income, they are seen as burdens, which every rational individual should attempt to reduce. Based on this assumption, the standard economic model tries to explain tax evasion by audit probabilities, penalties, tax rates and income. However, given the low audit probabilities and the low typical punishment, the rates of actually observed tax compliance is much higher than predicted by this model. But, under which circumstances do individuals tend to evade their taxes? In order to resolve the puzzle of tax compliance, researchers distinguish between coercive compliance (standard economic model) and voluntary compliance (legitimacy-based model). According to the latter model, in order to create and reproduce legitimacy states must provide public goods that are intended to fund and guarantee that other taxpayers pay their taxes. However, the capacity of the state to provide public tax funded goods can be reduced by state corruption, which violates the implicit social contract between the state and the citizens, as well as by state inefficiency. Whereas these and similar factors build the frame (vignettes) for the extent to which tax evasion might be seen as more or less justifiable, personal characteristics are also expected to contribute to explain the judgment of respondents. The aim of this contribution is to analyse tax moral through a factorial survey conducted in 2017 with a convenience sample of German and Spanish citizens. In order to enhance our understanding of the causes of tax morale, a special focus is directed on modernization and its impact on morality and moral change (cf. also Inglehart/Welzel 2005, Nunner-Winkler 1996, Dülmer 2014).

Attitudes on Electricity Generating Technologies: The Role of Arguments, Message Cues and Energy Security Issues

Dr Hawal Shamon ( Institute of Energy and Climate Research Systems Analysis and Technology Evaluation (IEK-STE)) - Presenting Author
Mrs Maria Belka ( Institute of Energy and Climate Research Systems Analysis and Technology Evaluation (IEK-STE))

In Germany, different stakeholders inject themselves into the societal debate on the benefits and risks of the so called “Energiewende” by running simultaneously information campaigns with opposing positions towards different electricity generating technologies. While some stakeholders aim at persuading the public of the benefits of particular electricity generating technologies needed for the success of the Energiewende, other stakeholders adduce reasons against them. In our study, we examine the impact of information campaigns and energy security relevant issues on attitudes towards six electricity generating technologies needed for the German energy transition (i.e., coal power plants, gas power plants, offshore wind power plants, offshore wind power plants, solar parks, and biomass power plants) among the German population. For the examination of our theoretically derived hypotheses, we designed an experimental survey and administered it to a representative sample of the German population. Due to its experimental design, our study allows the quantification of the isolated impact of arguments for and against the technologies, different communication sources (e.g., NGOs, ruling party) as well as energy security relevant issues (e.g., import dependency) on attitudes towards each of the six technologies.