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Randomized Response: A Survey Technique for Eliminating Evasive Answer Bias

Stanley L. Warner
Journal of the American Statistical Association
Vol. 60, No. 309 (Mar., 1965), pp. 63-69
DOI: 10.2307/2283137
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2283137
Page Count: 7
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Randomized Response: A Survey Technique for Eliminating Evasive Answer Bias
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Abstract

For various reasons individuals in a sample survey may prefer not to confide to the interviewer the correct answers to certain questions. In such cases the individuals may elect not to reply at all or to reply with incorrect answers. The resulting evasive answer bias is ordinarily difficult to assess. In this paper it is argued that such bias is potentially removable through allowing the interviewee to maintain privacy through the device of randomizing his response. A randomized response method for estimating a population proportion is presented as an example. Unbiased maximum likelihood estimates are obtained and their mean square errors of conventional estimates under various assumptions about the underlying population.

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