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10.1007_s11109-019-09583-4.pdf (757.87 kB)

Citizenship and Surveys: Group Conflict and Nationality-of-Interviewer Effects in Arab Public Opinion Data

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journal contribution
posted on 2022-11-22, 21:14 authored by Justin J. Gengler, Kien T. Le, Jill Wittrock

More research than ever before uses public opinion data to investigate society and politics in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). Ethnic identities are widely theorized to mediate many of the political attitudes and behaviors that MENA surveys commonly seek to measure, but, to date, no research has systematically investigated how the observable ethnic category(s) of the interviewer may influence participation and answers given in Middle East surveys. Here we measure the impact of one highly salient and outwardly observable ascriptive attribute of interviewers—nationality—using data from an original survey experiment conducted in the Arab Gulf state of Qatar. Applying the total survey error (TSE) framework and utilizing an innovative nonparametric matching technique, we estimate treatment effects on both nonresponse error and measurement error. We find that Qatari nationals are more likely to begin and finish a survey, and respond to questions, when interviewed by a fellow national. Qataris also edit their answers to sensitive questions relating to the unequal status of citizens and noncitizens, reporting views that are more exclusionary and less positive toward out-group members, when the interviewer is a conational. The findings have direct implications for consumers and producers of a growing number of surveys conducted inside and outside the Arab world, where migration and conflict have made respondent-interviewer mismatches along national and other ethnic dimensions more salient and more common.

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Published in: Political Behavior
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  • English


Springer Science and Business Media LLC

Publication Year

  • 2019

Institution affiliated with

  • Qatar University

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