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Journal Article

Estimating support for extremism and its correlates: the case of Pakistan


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The extent of support of extremist ideology is a major area of concern for both policy makersand academic researchers. Identifying the extent and correlates of a difficult to measureconcept such as extremist ideology is often limited by the use of a single imperfect indicator.This paper outlines one approach, latent class analysis (LCA), to overcome this issue anduses the example of estimating support for such ideology in Pakistan. Using survey datafrom Pakistani men, the level of support is estimated using LCA employing several indicatorsrelated to extremism. The results suggest that although most Pakistanis are not supportiveof extremist ideology, a substantively important portion of men are supportive. LCA alsoallows for class assignment, which is useful for understanding covariate relationshipswith the latent variable. Based on the results of the LCA, respondents are assigned todifferent classifications of extremist support, and a continuation-ratio logistic regressionmodel is employed allowing for more covariates to be examined. The results suggest thatthere are a number of characteristics important in influencing support within this subset ofthe population. In particular, younger and less educated men are more likely to supportextremism ideology. The results suggest a potentially useful methodology in understandingextremism, as well as a greater understanding of the problem of extremist support.

Published in

ASK: Research & Methods

Volume and page numbers

23 , 35 -56




Public Opinion, Statistical Analysis, Religion, Social Attitudes, Social Behaviour, and Social Psychology



Open Access Journal


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