ISER Working Paper Series 2009-08
Explaining cross-country differences in contact rates
13 Mar 2009
In the European Social Survey (ESS) contact rates differ across countries. These
differences are broadly due to (1) differences in survey implementation, (2)
differences in population characteristics associated with contact propensity and (3)
differences in the association between 1 or 2 and contact propensity. This paper
investigates correlates of contact within and across ESS countries by decomposing
cross-country differences in predicted mean contact propensities into (population and
fieldwork) characteristics effects, coefficients effects and a pseudo-interaction effect.
The findings shed light on the cross-national comparability of the manipulable aspects
of the contacting process. In addition, we distinguish factors explaining withincountry
contact propensity from factors explaining cross-country differences.