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Preferential Abstention in Conjoint Experiments

Preferential Abstention in Conjoint Experiments (with David Miller)

Speaker: (opens in a new window)Jeffrey Ziegler (Trinity Collee Dublin)

Wednesday, October 11, 14:00–14:45 (Irish time)

Please register (opens in a new window)here to receive the link and password to the online meeting and information on the room at UCD.

Abstract: Conjoint experiments are used to mimic political choices that people face, such as voting for public officials or selecting news stories. Conjoint designs, however, do not always mirror the real-world decision-making contexts that individuals engage in because respondents are typically forced to select one of the available options. We illustrate theoretically how offering respondents an abstention option can produce different average marginal component effects (AMCEs) relative to a forced- choice outcome. This difference depends on 1) the proportion of respondents who would rather abstain than select profiles lacking their preferred attribute-levels, and 2) those respondents’ preference orderings. Then, we replicate two conjoint experiments and demonstrate how omitting a realistic abstention option can lead to substantively different estimates of the AMCEs.

About the speaker: Jeffrey Ziegler is an Assistant Professor in Political Science and Data Science at Trinity College Dublin. Previously, he was a Post-Doctoral Fellow at the Institute for Quantitative Theory and Methods at Emory University. He received his PhD in Political Science from Washington University in St. Louis, where he was also a Graduate Affiliate of the John C. Danforth Center on Religion and Politics. In his research, he extends quantitative methods to the social sciences, focusing on multi-media data (text, audio, images) and experiments. he applies these techniques to study questions related to political and psychological behavior.