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The Misreporting Trade-off Between List Experiments and Direct Questions in Practice: Partition Validation Evidence from Two Countries

Kuhn, Patrick M.; Vivyan, Nick

The Misreporting Trade-off Between List Experiments and Direct Questions in Practice: Partition Validation Evidence from Two Countries Thumbnail


Authors



Abstract

To reduce strategic misreporting on sensitive topics, survey researchers increasingly use list experiments rather than direct questions. However, the complexity of list experiments may increase non-strategic misreporting. We provide the first empirical assessment of this trade-off between strategic and non-strategic misreporting. We field list experiments on election turnout in two different countries, collecting measures of respondents' true turnout. We detail and apply a partition validation method which uses true scores to distinguish true and false positives and negatives for list experiments, thus allowing detection of non-strategic reporting errors. For both list experiments, partition validation reveals non-strategic misreporting that is: undetected by standard diagnostics or validation; greater than assumed in extant simulation studies; and severe enough that direct turnout questions subject to strategic misreporting exhibit lower overall reporting error. We discuss how our results can inform the choice between list experiment and direct question for other topics and survey contexts.

Citation

Kuhn, P. M., & Vivyan, N. (2022). The Misreporting Trade-off Between List Experiments and Direct Questions in Practice: Partition Validation Evidence from Two Countries. Political Analysis, 30(3), 381-402. https://doi.org/10.1017/pan.2021.10

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Dec 22, 2020
Online Publication Date Apr 16, 2021
Publication Date 2022-07
Deposit Date Jan 5, 2021
Publicly Available Date May 20, 2021
Journal Political Analysis
Print ISSN 1047-1987
Electronic ISSN 1476-4989
Publisher Political Methodology Section
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 30
Issue 3
Pages 381-402
DOI https://doi.org/10.1017/pan.2021.10

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Publisher Licence URL
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

Copyright Statement
Advance online version © The Author(s) 2021. Published
by Cambridge University Press
on behalf of the Society for
Political Methodology. This is an
Open Access article, distributed
under the terms of the Creative
Commons Attribution licence
(http://creativecommons.org/
licenses/by/4.0/), which permits
unrestricted re-use, distribution,
and reproduction in any
medium, provided the original
work is properly cited.





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