Decomposition of Long-term Changes in Political Opinions According to Group-Specific Markov Processes
evaluation of socialist
group-specific Marcov processes
short-term change in public opinion
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Citation:Ask: Research and Methods. Volume 17, Issue 1 (2008), pp. 101-113
;In this paper I use longitudinal data for Poland to test the assumption that political opinion change through time is not entirely due to some universal and time-constant processes; rather, it depends on the initial conditions in a person’s state. Information on Poles’ evaluations of the past socialist regime available for repeated intervals, and over a sufficiently long time period—ten years—allows me to decompose long-term changes in assessment of socialism into short-term change, and the reliability of responses according to group-specific Markov processes. I obtain three types of stochastic matrices: Mt, t+10, Mt, t+1, Mrel = R, where M refers to a matrix of opinions in time t by opinions in subsequent time, t refers to specific years, and R is the reliability matrix from the measurement of opinions in one-month period. To assess the fit of the observed transition matrix for the 10-year period as a linear combination of matrices Mt, t+1 and Mrel, I apply the random effect maximum likelihood function in STATA, with the bootstrap option for obtaining the standard errors of the coefficients. Results demonstrate that Markovtype processes do not have significant explanatory power for long-term change in opinions about socialism. Substantively, this means that the ‘subjective’ legacy of the past, namely peoples’ views of the former regime, matters.
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