Does Conjoint Analysis Mitigate Social Desirability Bias?

18 Pages Posted: 25 Jul 2018 Last revised: 11 Mar 2020

See all articles by Yusaku Horiuchi

Yusaku Horiuchi

Dartmouth College - Department of Government

Zachary D. Markovich

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Department of Political Science

Teppei Yamamoto

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Department of Political Science

Date Written: March 10, 2020

Abstract

How can we elicit truthful responses in surveys? Political scientists are often concerned about systematic survey misreporting on sensitive topics, known as social desirability bias (SDB). Conjoint analysis has become a popular tool to address this concern, despite the lack of systematic evidence showing its suitability for this purpose. We employ a novel experimental design to identify a fully randomized conjoint design's ability to mitigate SDB. Specifically, we compare a standard conjoint design against a partially randomized design where only the sensitive attribute is varied between two profiles in each task. Our design also includes a placebo condition designed to remove confounding due to the increased attention to the varying attribute under the partially randomized design. We implemented this experiment in a survey to uncover respondents' attitudes toward environmental conservation. We find suggestive evidence that conjoint analysis does, indeed, mitigate SDB.

Keywords: response bias, survey experiment, survey methodology, conjoint analysis

Suggested Citation

Horiuchi, Yusaku and Markovich, Zachary D. and Yamamoto, Teppei, Does Conjoint Analysis Mitigate Social Desirability Bias? (March 10, 2020). MIT Political Science Department Research Paper No. 2018-15. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3219323 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3219323

Yusaku Horiuchi

Dartmouth College - Department of Government ( email )

204 Silsby Hall
HB 6108
Hanover, NH 03755
United States

HOME PAGE: http://sites.dartmouth.edu/horiuchi/

Zachary D. Markovich (Contact Author)

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Department of Political Science ( email )

77 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02139
United States

Teppei Yamamoto

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Department of Political Science ( email )

77 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02139
United States

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