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Evaluating and Improving Item Response Theory Models for Cross-National Expert Surveys

Daniel Pemstein, North Dakota State University, Göteborg University - V-Dem Institute
Eitan Tzelgov, Göteborg University - V-Dem Institute, University of Gothenburg
Yi-ting Wang, National Cheng Kung University

What Do We Talk About When We Talk About Political Innovation in the Age of Devolution? Comparing 'Smartness' in Scotland, Catalonia and the Basque Country

Igor Calzada, University of Oxford, Future of Cities Programme, COMPAS, University of Strathclyde - Strathclyde Business School, Aston University - School of Languages & Social Sciences


POLITICAL METHODS: COMPUTATIONAL eJOURNAL

"Evaluating and Improving Item Response Theory Models for Cross-National Expert Surveys" Free Download
V-Dem Working Paper 2015:1

DANIEL PEMSTEIN, North Dakota State University, Göteborg University - V-Dem Institute
Email:
EITAN TZELGOV, Göteborg University - V-Dem Institute, University of Gothenburg
Email:
YI-TING WANG, National Cheng Kung University
Email:

The data produced by the Varieties of Democracy (V-Dem) project contains ordinal ratings of a multitude of country-level indicators across space and time, with multiple experts providing judgments for each country-year observation. We use an ordinal item response theory (O-IRT) model to aggregate multiple experts' ratings. The V-Dem data provide a challenging domain for such models because they exhibit little cross-national bridging. That is, few coders provide ratings for multiple countries, making it difficult to calibrate the scales of estimates cross-nationally. In this paper, we provide a systematic analysis of the issue of bridging. We first use simulations to explore how much bridging one needs to achieve scale identification when coders' thresholds vary across countries and when the latent traits of some countries lack variation. We then examine how posterior predictive checks can be used to check cases of extent of scale non-comparability. Finally, we develop and evaluate search algorithms designed to select bridges that are most likely allow one to correct scale incompatibility problems.

"What Do We Talk About When We Talk About Political Innovation in the Age of Devolution? Comparing 'Smartness' in Scotland, Catalonia and the Basque Country" 

IGOR CALZADA, University of Oxford, Future of Cities Programme, COMPAS, University of Strathclyde - Strathclyde Business School, Aston University - School of Languages & Social Sciences
Email:

Nation-states are facing constant re-scaling and devolution demands from the strongest city-regional economies, whereas welfare policies are weakening due to the austerity policy implemented by national governments. However, nation-states, as international actors, depict difficulties to cope with this uncertain equilibrium between self-determination demands from the nationalists and a clear contestation to the political economic severe austerity policy. It is in this context where pervasive but disruptive political innovations could be taking place in some city-regional small nations, even beyond their nation-states.

Generally speaking, the nature of the nation-states has been understood so far as a static and presumably homogeneous entity, which requires an updated ‘smart’ comprehensive agenda of power relationships, shared sovereignty and policy implementation between nation-states and city-regional small nations. Such ‘smartness’ now involves being able to proceed with devolution between the two counterparts that play in the international arena. As a general trend, devolution is being increasingly included in the EU multilevel policy agenda, or at least, in the political debate of many member states, such as the UK, Spain, and Germany, among others. Nevertheless, there are remarkable differences not only in the way nation-states assume this current geopolitical trend, but also the strategies of city-regions aiming for more autonomy, devolution and independence. These are the cases of the UK and Spain, and also Scotland, Catalonia and the Basque Country.

This paper aims to explore two aspects: 1) the notion of what we mean when we talk about the Age of Devolution in the European context and 2) the evidence-based facts of the Political Innovation in selected cases of smart city-regional governance.

Therefore, this paper will present a comparative analysis of the Political Innovation ‘smartness’ in the three city-regional small nations of Scotland, Catalonia and the Basque Country.

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