In recent years, large sets of national surveys with shared content have increasingly been used for cross-national opinion research. But scholars have not yet settled on the most flexible and efficient models for utilizing such data. We present a two-step strategy for such analysis that takes advantage of the fact that in such datasets each “cluster” (i.e., country sample) is large enough to sustain separate analysis of its internal variances and covariances. We illustrate the method by examining a puzzle of comparative electoral behavior—why does turnout decline rather than increase with the number of parties competing in an election (Blais and Dobryzynska 1998, for example)? This discussion demonstrates the ease with which a two-step strategy incorporates confounding variables operating at different levels of analysis. Technical appendices demonstrate that the two-step strategy does not lose efficiency of estimation as compared with a pooling strategy.
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