Using Conjoint Experiments to Analyze Elections: The Essential Role of the Average Marginal Component Effect (AMCE)

31 Pages Posted: 12 Jun 2020

See all articles by Kirk Bansak

Kirk Bansak

University of California, San Diego

Jens Hainmueller

Stanford University - Department of Political Science; Stanford Graduate School of Business; Stanford Immigration Policy Lab

Daniel J. Hopkins

University of Pennsylvania

Teppei Yamamoto

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Department of Political Science

Date Written: April 30, 2020

Abstract

Political scientists have increasingly deployed conjoint survey experiments to understand multi-dimensional choices in various settings. We begin with a general framework for analyzing voter preferences in multi-attribute elections using conjoints. With this framework, we demonstrate that the Average Marginal Component Effect (AMCE) is well-defined in terms of individual preferences and represents a central quantity of interest to empirical scholars of elections: the effect of a change in an attribute on a candidate or party's expected vote share. This property holds irrespective of the heterogeneity, strength, or interactivity of voters' preferences and regardless of how votes are aggregated into seats. Overall, our results indicate the essential role of AMCEs for understanding elections, a conclusion buttressed by a corresponding literature review. We also provide practical advice on interpreting AMCEs and discuss how conjoint data can be used to estimate other quantities of interest to electoral studies.

Keywords: conjoint, elections, causal inference, AMCE, survey experiments

JEL Classification: C25

Suggested Citation

Bansak, Kirk and Hainmueller, Jens and Hopkins, Daniel J. and Yamamoto, Teppei, Using Conjoint Experiments to Analyze Elections: The Essential Role of the Average Marginal Component Effect (AMCE) (April 30, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3588941 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3588941

Kirk Bansak

University of California, San Diego ( email )

9500 Gilman Drive
La Jolla, CA 92093
United States

Jens Hainmueller (Contact Author)

Stanford University - Department of Political Science ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.stanford.edu/~jhain/

Stanford Graduate School of Business ( email )

655 Knight Way
Stanford, CA 94305-5015
United States

Stanford Immigration Policy Lab

30 Alta Road
Stanford, CA 94305
United States

Daniel J. Hopkins

University of Pennsylvania ( email )

Stiteler Hall
Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.danhopkins.org

Teppei Yamamoto

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Department of Political Science ( email )

77 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02139
United States

Here is the Coronavirus
related research on SSRN

Paper statistics

Downloads
356
Abstract Views
1,347
rank
93,592
PlumX Metrics