Many social, economic, environmental and political problems can only be solved by involving citizens and changing social norms in societies. It is therefore crucial to learn more about individuals’ beliefs, attitudes, preferences, and subjective norms. But survey research on such issues has to deal with different forms of bias. Respondents might untruthfully answer survey questions in line with social norms, political rules, and in a way to please the researchers. Multifactorial survey experiments (MFSEs) can help to avoid such biases because they do not measure the concepts directly via single survey items but indirectly, based on the variation of different factors. They further single out the importance of different factors and combinations thereof for evaluating social, economic, environmental or political problems. Based on an experimental design they allow to estimate causal effects of various factors on the outcome at hand. Therefore, MFSE can contribute to solving social problems. They are applied to a wide range of issues in both Global North and Global South including policy preferences for immigration, acceptance of environmental policy, perceived fairness of gender pay gaps, the valuation of environmental amenities, preferences for health care, normative beliefs related to marriage and child education. This course will provide an introduction to different types of MFSEs: factorial survey/vignette experiments, conjoint experiments, and stated/discrete choice experiments. Participants will get familiar with the theoretical foundations of these experiments, and empirical applications, as well as learn how to design MFSEs, construct a questionnaire, collect data, build a dataset, and analyse MFSE data. As part of this course participants will carry out their own MFSE (based on self-selected topics, for example, on preferences, attitudes or subjective norms related to immigration, working conditions, environmental policy, health care, crime, and discrimination).
Research School for Socio-Economic and Natural Sciences of the Environment