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Multilevel Models for the Analysis of Comparative Survey Data: Common Problems and Some Solutions
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-1400-2141
2019 (English)In: Kölner Zeitschrift für Soziologie und Sozialpsychologie, ISSN 0023-2653, E-ISSN 1861-891X, Vol. 71, p. 99-128Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This paper provides an overview over the application of mixed models (multilevel models) to comparative survey data where the context units of interest are countries. Such analyses have gained much popularity in the last two decades but they also come with a variety of challenges, some of which are discussed here. A focus lies on the small-N problem, influential cases (outliers) and the issue of omitted variables at the country level. Summarizing the methodological literature, the paper provides recommendations for applied researchers when possible or otherwise points to the more detailed literature. Some solutions for the small-N problem and omitted variable bias are discussed in detail, recommending the pooling of multiple survey waves to increase statistical power and to allow for the estimation of within-country effects, thereby controlling for unobserved heterogeneity. All issues are illustrated using an empirical example with data from the European Social Survey. The online appendix provides detailed syntax to adopt the presented procedures to researchers’ own data.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Springer, 2019. Vol. 71, p. 99-128
Keywords [en]
Mixed models, Multilevel models, Small-N problem, Influential cases, Omitted variable bias
National Category
Sociology (excluding Social Work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology)
Research subject
Sociology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-158817DOI: 10.1007/s11577-019-00607-9ISI: 000472940500005OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-158817DiVA, id: diva2:1314626
Note

Supplement: 1

Special Issue: SI

Available from: 2019-05-09 Created: 2019-05-09 Last updated: 2019-07-26Bibliographically approved

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Fairbrother, Malcolm

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
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  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
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