Using Factorial Surveys and Stated Choice Experiments to Investigate Discriminatory Attitudes and Preferences

Friday, July 18, 2014: 4:10 PM
Room: 416
Oral Presentation
Ulf LIEBE , University of Bern, Switzerland
Heiko BEYER , University of Göttingen, Germany
Empirical research on discriminatory attitudes and behaviour grapples with the social undesirability of its object. In many studies using regular survey methods, estimates are biased, and the social context of discrimination is not taken into account. Several methods have been developed, especially to deal with the first problem. In this regard, the estimation of the ‘true value’ of discriminatory attitudes is at the centre of interest. However, methodological contributions focusing on the social context of attitude communication and discriminatory behaviour, as well as the correlation between both, are rare. We present two experimental methods which address those issues: factorial surveys and stated choice experiments. In a first study, the usefulness of factorial surveys is demonstrated with data on German anti-Semitism (N=279). We show that the rate of approval with anti-Semitic statements increases if (a) respondents are told that the majority of fellows agree with such statements, (b) the term “Jews” is replaced by the term “Israelis”, and (c) reference to the Holocaust is made. Apart from the main effects of these experimental factors, significant interaction effects regarding the political attitudes and social status of respondents are observed. In a second study, a stated choice experiment on the purchase of olive oil and tomatoes was conducted in Germany (N=440). We find that respondents prefer Italian and Dutch products (control treatment) compared to Israeli and Palestinian ones (discrimination treatments). There are no significant differences between preferences for a so called ‘Peace product’ (which is produced jointly by Israelis and Palestinians) and products from Italy as well as the Netherlands. Yet, taking discriminatory attitudes (anti-Semitic and anti-Arabic attitudes) into account, a strong correlation between those attitudes and stated behaviour (purchase of Israeli, Palestinian and jointly produced products) can be found. This adds support to the hypothesis that discriminatory attitudes hold behavioural consequences.