We Need to Compare, But How? Measurement Equivalence in Comparative Public Administration

Public Administration Review, 75(1): 36-48, 2015

43 Pages Posted: 15 Oct 2014 Last revised: 15 Jul 2015

See all articles by Sebastian Jilke

Sebastian Jilke

Rutgers University-Newark

Bart Meuleman

KU Leuven

Steven Van de Walle

KU Leuven - Department of Political Science; Erasmus University Rotterdam - Department of Public Administration

Date Written: 2015

Abstract

There is an increasing interest to study public administrations, public managers or citizens interactions with, and views towards government from a comparative perspective in order to put theories to test using cross-national surveys. However, this will only succeed if we adequately deal with the diverse ways respondents in different countries, and regions perceive, and respond to survey measures. In this article, we provide an examination of the concept of cross-national measurement equivalence in public management, and how to proceed in establishing equivalence. We examine two different methodologies that test, and correct for measurement non-equivalence, namely 1) multiple group confirmatory factor analysis, and 2) item response theory. These techniques are then used to test, and subsequently establish the cross-national measurement equivalence of two popular measurement constructs, citizen satisfaction with public services, and trust in public institutions. Results show how appropriately dealing with non-equivalence accounts for different forms of biases, which would otherwise stay undetected. In doing so, this article contributes to the methodological advancement in studying public administration beyond domestic borders.

Keywords: Citizen satisfaction, institutional trust, comparative public administration, item response theory, measurement equivalence, multiple group confirmatory factor analysis

JEL Classification: D12, D18, D4, D63, D8

Suggested Citation

Jilke, Sebastian and Meuleman, Bart and Van de Walle, Steven, We Need to Compare, But How? Measurement Equivalence in Comparative Public Administration (2015). Public Administration Review, 75(1): 36-48, 2015. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2509963

Sebastian Jilke (Contact Author)

Rutgers University-Newark ( email )

111 Washington Street
Center for Urban and Public Service
Newark, NJ 07102
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.sebastianjilke.net

Bart Meuleman

KU Leuven ( email )

Oude Markt 13
Leuven, Vlaams-Brabant 3000
Belgium

Steven Van de Walle

KU Leuven - Department of Political Science ( email )

Public Management Institute
Van Evenstraat 2A
B-3000 Leuven
Belgium
+32 16 323614 (Phone)
+32 16 323611 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.publicmanagementinstitute.be

Erasmus University Rotterdam - Department of Public Administration ( email )

3000 DR Rotterdam
Netherlands
0031 10 408 2518 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.stevenvandewalle.eu

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