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Beyond the breaking point? Survey satisficing in conjoint experiments

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  08 May 2019

Kirk Bansak
Department of Political Science, University of California San Diego, 9500 Gilman Drive, La Jolla, CA92093, United States
Jens Hainmueller
Department of Political Science, 616 Serra Street Encina Hall West, Room 100, Stanford, CA94305-6044, United States
Daniel J. Hopkins*
Department of Political Science, University of Pennsylvania, 207 S. 37th Street, Philadelphia, PA19104, United States
Teppei Yamamoto
Department of Political Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 77 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA02139, United States
*Corresponding author. Email:


Recent years have seen a renaissance of conjoint survey designs within social science. To date, however, researchers have lacked guidance on how many attributes they can include within conjoint profiles before survey satisficing leads to unacceptable declines in response quality. This paper addresses that question using pre-registered, two-stage experiments examining choices among hypothetical candidates for US Senate or hotel rooms. In each experiment, we use the first stage to identify attributes which are perceived to be uncorrelated with the attribute of interest, so that their effects are not masked by those of the core attributes. In the second stage, we randomly assign respondents to conjoint designs with varying numbers of those filler attributes. We report the results of these experiments implemented via Amazon's Mechanical Turk and Survey Sampling International. They demonstrate that our core quantities of interest are generally stable, with relatively modest increases in survey satisficing when respondents face large numbers of attributes.

Original Article
Copyright © The European Political Science Association 2019

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