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Estimating latent traits from expert surveys: an analysis of sensitivity to data-generating process

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  15 July 2021

Kyle L. Marquardt*
Affiliation:
School of Politics and Governance and International Center for the Study of Institutions and Development, HSE University, Moscow, Russia
Daniel Pemstein
Affiliation:
Political Science and Public Policy, North Dakota State University, Fargo, ND, USA
*
*Corresponding author. Email: kmarquardt@hse.ru

Abstract

Models for converting expert-coded data to estimates of latent concepts assume different data-generating processes (DGPs). In this paper, we simulate ecologically valid data according to different assumptions, and examine the degree to which common methods for aggregating expert-coded data (1) recover true values and (2) construct appropriate coverage intervals. We find that the mean and both hierarchical Aldrich–McKelvey (A–M) scaling and hierarchical item-response theory (IRT) models perform similarly when expert error is low; the hierarchical latent variable models (A-M and IRT) outperform the mean when expert error is high. Hierarchical A–M and IRT models generally perform similarly, although IRT models are often more likely to include true values within their coverage intervals. The median and non-hierarchical latent variable models perform poorly under most assumed DGPs.

Type
Research Note
Copyright
Copyright © The Author(s), 2021. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of the European Political Science Association

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