Generating Prevalence Estimates of Sensitive Behaviors through List Randomization: Survey Experiment among Indian Males

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Indurkar, Abha
Under-reporting; survey methodology; list randomization; India; gender economics; gender development; homosexuality in India; Behavioral Economics; Economics; Experimental Analysis of Behavior; Growth and Development; Social and Behavioral Sciences
thesis / dissertation description
Survey respondents may under-report or misreport sensitive behaviors due to social desirability bias. List randomization is an indirect way of asking questions which allows respondents to answer sensitive questions without the surveyor knowing their actual response. This has emerged as a new technique to ask sensitive questions as it reduces respondent’s discomfort while reporting sensitive behaviors. In this study, we apply list randomization to generate prevalence estimates of sensitive behaviors and perception related to homosexuality, molestation of women and notion of partner purity in the sample of young, college educated Indian males. Our findings are consistent with the literature on social desirability bias, suggesting that list randomization uncovers under reporting of socially undesirable issues pertaining to homosexual identity and homosexual experience in our sample of young Indian college students.