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Surveying Sensitive Topics: New Tools Help Correct For Survey Bias

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Executive Summary

Getting truthful answers to survey questions about sensitive matters - such as using illegal drugs or cheating on taxes - is a challenge. Even when promised anonymity, people who break the rules can be inclined to lie about their behavior. The Randomized Response (RR) model was developed to address this issue, but it is an imperfect tool. The model underestimates noncompliant behavior, and because large samples are needed, it is expensive to use. Researchers need an improved approach.

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