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Pairwise Comparisons as a Scale Development Tool for Composite Measures

Floridi, G; Lauderdale, BE; (2022) Pairwise Comparisons as a Scale Development Tool for Composite Measures. Journal of the Royal Statistical Society: Series A (Statistics in Society) 10.1111/rssa.12790. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

Composite scales are widely used for measuring aggregate social science concepts. These often consist of linear indices obtained as the weighted sum of a set of relevant indicators. However, selecting coefficients (or weights) that reflect the substantive importance of each indicator towards the concept of interest is a difficult task. We propose a method for the generation of linear indices for aggregate concepts based on pairwise comparisons. Specifically, we ask a group of subject-matter experts to perform a series of pairwise comparisons, with respect to the concept of interest, between profiles displaying different combinations of indicators. This allows us to estimate coefficients for each indicator that provide a linear approximation to how experts make the pairwise evaluations. As we show, the method makes it straightforward to assess intercoder reliability, while being a more accessible task than directly asking experts for coefficients. We demonstrate our method with an application to the concept of ‘productive ageing’, including a cross-cultural comparison of weighting schemes derived from a group of Italian and a group of South Korean experts on this concept.

Type: Article
Title: Pairwise Comparisons as a Scale Development Tool for Composite Measures
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1111/rssa.12790
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1111/rssa.12790
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher's terms and conditions.
Keywords: composite index, content validity, linear index, robustness, weighting and aggregation, weighting scheme
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of Political Science
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10138540
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