After hypothesising our model and establishing its operating rules, we decided to make a first exploratory test on a limited number of Italian Internet users and tax payers through an online questionnaire between the months of November 2014 and February 2015, exactly when citizens are called to pay the RAI licence fee.
We opened a Facebook page to promote the circulation of the questionnaire and collect comments.
A total of 639 people responded to our online survey. We compared our sample to the overall population of Internet users in the country, as described by official statistics (ISTAT Indagine Multiscopo, 2014). We considered the following background characteristics: sex; level of education (upper secondary or less versus tertiary); age (four classes: less than 25; 25-34; 35-54; 55 or more); macro-region (North versus Centre-South). Among our respondents, we selected 495 records displaying valid answers to all the characteristics listed above. Comparing this subsample with the national ISTAT statistics, we detected that the cases in our dataset over-represent the tertiary scholar degree, more strongly in Northern regions, and that they under-represent lower-educated people, particularly among young people in Southern regions. In order to (at least partially) correct these biases, all the analyses displayed in this paper were compared to the ISTAT statistics and accordingly weighted to correct our sample’s under/over-representations.