Discovery of Social Beliefs About Ethnic Structure from Survey Data

26 Pages Posted: 10 Aug 2017  

Thomas B. Pepinsky

Cornell University - Department of Government

Date Written: August 8, 2017

Abstract

This paper introduces a new approach to discovering and exploring society-wide social beliefs about ethnic structure. Rooted in computational text analysis, it combines the strengths of both qualitative and survey-based approaches to the study of ethnicity. I use a structural topic modeling approach (Roberts, Stewart, and Airoldi 2016) to uncover general patterns in found in open-ended questions about ethnic groups. I then predict which patterns of responses tend to be associated with which ethnic groups, and use information about survey respondents to explore heterogeneity in social beliefs. To illustrate the method at work, I use original survey data from Malaysia, collected in 2017, to understand social beliefs about Malay, Chinese, Indian, and Arab ethnic groups in Malaysia.

Keywords: structural topic modeling, computation text analysis, surveys, identity, ethnicity, Malaysia

Suggested Citation

Pepinsky, Thomas B., Discovery of Social Beliefs About Ethnic Structure from Survey Data (August 8, 2017). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3016017

Thomas B. Pepinsky (Contact Author)

Cornell University - Department of Government ( email )

Ithaca, NY 14853
United States

Paper statistics

Downloads
20
Abstract Views
98