Measuring Political Knowledge in the Mass Public: Calibrating a Useful Instrument.

William G. Jacoby, Ph.D., is a professor in the Department of Political Science at Michigan State University and a research scientist at the University of Michigan. There is little consensus among scholars as to the best way to measure the knowledge of individual citizens. One strategy relies upon interviewer assessments, though there are systematic differences in interviewers’ judgments. Professor Jacoby presents an approach for taking interviewer biases into account.

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About the Speaker

William G. Jacoby is a Professor in the Department of Political Science at Michigan State University. He also is a research scientist at the University of Michigan, where he serves as Director of the Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR) Summer Training Program in Quantitative Methods of Social Research.Professor Jacoby joined the MSU faculty in 2003. Previously, he held positions at the University of South Carolina, Ohio State University, and the University of Missouri. He received his Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill in 1983.Professor Jacoby's professional interests include mass political behavior (public opinion, political attitudes, voting behavior) and quantitative methodology (measurement theory, scaling methods, statistical graphics, modern regression). His current research focuses on citizen ideology and belief system organization, value choices and their implications for subsequent political orientations, measuring policy priorities in the American states, the implications of measurement assumptions for statistical models, and graphical strategies for data analysis.