Trust in American government: Longitudinal measurement equivalence in the ANES, 1964-2008

Dmitriy Poznyak*, Bart Meuleman, K. Abts, George F. Bishop

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

For over 50 years (1958-2012) the American National Election Studies (ANES) survey has been measuring citizens' evaluations of the trustworthiness of the "government in Washington''-an indicator that has been widely used to monitor the dynamics of political trust in the US over time. However, a critical assumption in using attitudinal constructs for longitudinal research is that the meaning-and-interpretation of such items should be comparable across groups of respondents at any one point in time and across samples over time. Using multigroup confirmatory factor analysis for ordered-categorical data, we test the measurement equivalence assumption with data collected by the ANES from 1964 to 2008. The results confirm that the ANES' political trust scale has the same basic factorial structure over time. But for two key items, several threshold parameters were found to be different across time points, indicating that the meaning-and-interpretation of these questions, and especially the question about whether the government in Washington wastes money that people pay in taxes, varies significantly over time.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)741-758
JournalSocial Indicators Research
Volume118
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2014
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Political trust
  • ANES
  • Measurement equivalence
  • Comparability
  • Multigroup confirmatory factor analysis
  • Structural equation modeling
  • CONFIRMATORY FACTOR-ANALYSIS
  • EUROPEAN SOCIAL SURVEY
  • ITEM RESPONSE THEORY
  • OF-FIT INDEXES
  • MEASUREMENT INVARIANCE
  • FACTORIAL INVARIANCE
  • POLITICAL ISSUES
  • VARIABLES
  • MODELS

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