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When to Protect? Using the Crosswise Model to Integrate Protected and Direct Responses in Surveys of Sensitive Behavior

Gingerich, Daniel; Oliveros, Virginia; Corbacho, Ana; Ruiz-Vega, Mauricio
Computer Resource; Online
Gingerich, Daniel
Oliveros, Virginia
Corbacho, Ana
Ruiz-Vega, Mauricio
Sensitive survey techniques (SSTs) are frequently used to study sensitive behaviors. However, existing strategies for employing SSTs lead to highly variable prevalence estimates and do not permit analysts to address the question of whether the use of an SST is actually necessary. The current paper presents a survey questioning strategy and corresponding statistical framework that fills this gap. By jointly analyzing survey responses generated by an SST (the crosswise model) along with direct responses about the sensitive behavior, the paper's framework addresses the question of whether the use of a SST is required to study a given sensitive behavior, provides an efficient estimate of the prevalence of the sensitive behavior, and, in its extended form, efficiently estimates how individual characteristics relate to the likelihood of engaging in the behavior. The utility of the approach is demonstrated through an examination of gender differences in proclivities towards corruption in Costa Rica.
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