Lucas C. Coffman
Department of Economics, Ohio State University
Arps Hall, 1945 N. High St
Columbus, OH 43210
NBER Working Papers and Publications
|October 2013||The Size of the LGBT Population and the Magnitude of Anti-Gay Sentiment are Substantially Underestimated|
with Katherine B. Coffman, Keith M. Marzilli Ericson: w19508
Measuring sexual orientation, behavior, and related opinions is difficult because responses are biased towards socially acceptable answers. We test whether measurements are biased even when responses are private and anonymous and use our results to identify sexuality-related norms and how they vary. We run an experiment on 2,516 U.S. participants. Participants were randomly assigned to either a "best practices method" that was computer-based and provides privacy and anonymity, or to a "veiled elicitation method" that further conceals individual responses. Answers in the veiled method preclude inference about any particular individual, but can be used to accurately estimate statistics about the population. Comparing the two methods shows sexuality-related questions receive biased responses ...