A Multilevel Analysis of the Relationship Between Survey-Interview Privacy and the Expression of Opposition to Government Surveillance in 47 Countries

Goldstein-Greenwood, Jacob, Psychology - Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, University of Virginia
Converse, Benjamin, BA-Frank Batten School, University of Virginia
Wood, Adrienne, AS-Psychology, University of Virginia
Claibourn, Michele, AS-Equity Center, University of Virginia

Some attitudes invite trouble when they get out, and people may voice those views with caution when other parties can surveil what’s said. Past studies suggest that awareness of government surveillance has a chilling effect on expression (e.g., on people’s intent to participate politically in surveilled circles). Using World Values Survey data from 47 countries, I examined whether casual forms of surveillance during survey interviews—the presence of anyone other than the interviewer who could follow the respondent’s answers—predicted reduced expression of oppositional attitudes, focusing on an apropos example: Opposition to government surveillance. Accounting for plausible confounds, I found tentative evidence of a relationship between interview privacy and the expression of opposition to government surveillance, as well as between interview privacy and the expression of other conceptually relevant outcome measures: Lack of confidence in the courts and lack of confidence in the government.

MA (Master of Arts)
surveillance, privacy, attitudes, multilevel modeling, bootstrapping
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