English title: Satisficing Among Reluctant Respondents in a Cross-National Context

Author(s): Olena Kaminska - Allan L. McCutcheon - Jaak Billiet -

Language: English

Type: Journal article

Year: 2010


Higher response rates are commonly assumed to be associated with higher survey quality. Nevertheless, increasing response rates without attention to response quality may result in an increase of measurement error if it is associated with reluctance to participate in surveys. This article examines the nature of the relationship between reluctance and response quality. The question is studied in a cross-national context using data from the European Social Survey, Round 3, conducted in 2006–2007. Hypotheses are tested separately and compared across four countries: Belgium, the Netherlands, Norway, and Sweden. A measure of response quality, satisficing, is developed through latent class analysis using the indicators of ‘‘don’t know,’’ straight-lining, inconsistent, and ‘‘extreme þ middle’’ responses. To explore the relationship between the latent variables of reluctance and satisficing, before and after controlling for cognitive ability, structural equation modeling is used. The findings suggest that the relationship between reluctance and response quality is present but spurious, being completely explained by cognitive ability. The observed effects are not only consistent but also invariant in their magnitudes across the countries. The implications of this study for future data collection are discussed.

Volume: 74

Issue: 5

From page no: 956

To page no: 984

Refereed: Yes

DOI: 10.1093/POQ/NFQ062

Journal: Public Opinion Quarterly

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