The Item Count Method for Sensitive Survey Questions: Modelling Criminal Behaviour

Kuha, J. and Jackson, J., ‘The Item Count Method for Sensitive Survey Questions: Modelling Criminal Behaviour’, Journal of the Royal Statistical Society: Series C (Applied Statistics), Forthcoming

21 Pages Posted: 29 Jul 2012 Last revised: 11 Mar 2013

Jouni Kuha

London School of Economics and Political Science

Jonathan Jackson

London School of Economics & Political Science - Department of Methodology

Date Written: July 28, 2012

Abstract

The item count method is a way of asking sensitive survey questions which protects the anonymity of the respondents by randomization before the interview. It can be used to estimate the probability of sensitive behaviour and to model how it depends on explanatory variables. We analyse item count survey data on the illegal behaviour of buying stolen goods. The analysis of an item count question is best formulated as an instance of modelling incomplete categorical data. We propose an efficient implementation of the estimation which also provides explicit variance estimates for the parameters. We then suggest specifications for the model for the control items, which is an auxiliary but unavoidable part of the analysis of item count data. These considerations and the results of our analysis of criminal behaviour highlight the fact that careful design of the questions is crucial for the success of the item count method.

Keywords: Categorical data analysis, EM algorithm, List experiment, Missing information, Newton-Raphson algorithm, Randomized response

JEL Classification: K40

Suggested Citation

Kuha, Jouni and Jackson, Jonathan, The Item Count Method for Sensitive Survey Questions: Modelling Criminal Behaviour (July 28, 2012). Kuha, J. and Jackson, J., ‘The Item Count Method for Sensitive Survey Questions: Modelling Criminal Behaviour’, Journal of the Royal Statistical Society: Series C (Applied Statistics), Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2119238 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2119238

Jouni Kuha (Contact Author)

London School of Economics and Political Science ( email )

Jonathan Jackson

London School of Economics & Political Science - Department of Methodology ( email )

Houghton Street
London, WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom
+0044-207-955-7652 (Phone)

Paper statistics

Downloads
203
Rank
119,730
Abstract Views
1,042