The next Economics Seminar of Paris-Saclay will take place on Thursday, January 26 from 12h15 to 13h15. Marion Mercier ( LEDa – DIAL, Dauphine & PSL ) will present ” Measuring insecurity-related experiences and preferences in a fragile State. A list experiment in Mali .” (with Olivia Bertelli, Thomas Calvo, Emmanuelle Lavallée, & Sandrine Mesplé-Somps)
Measuring behaviors and preferences in times of conflict is of great interest for understanding conflict dynamics and designing conflict-resolution interventions. Yet, data users often cast doubts on the reliability of sensitive self-reported measures, especially in fragile contexts. This is the first paper to study sensitive experiences and preferences related to insecurity in a fragile State – Mali – by explicitly addressing potential response biases with a List Experiment (LE) method. We survey 1,500 individuals across the entire country and randomly assign respondents to answer sensitive questions through the LE or DQ (direct question) techniques, so as to measure response biases. We focus on three experience-related items (physical assault victimization, firearms’ possession, willingness to engage in violence) and two preference-related items (support for the military regime and trust in the foreign armed forces in Mali). We find significant biases affecting responses about preference-related items. Our results confirm that popular support for the military regime and mistrust in the foreign armed forces is large, but response biases yield a substantial over-estimation of these prevalence rates. Misreporting is not uniformly distributed across the population, but varies depending on gender, education and conflict exposure. Further results suggest that such heterogeneity in response bias can yield fake significant correlations between individual characteristics and sensitive item’s prevalence rates depending on the technique used.