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Private but Misunderstood? Evidence on Measuring Intimate Partner Violence via Self-Interviewing in Rural Liberia and Malawi

PARK, Sungho / Aggarwal, Shilpa / Jeong, Dahyeon / Kumar, Naresh / Robinson, Jonathan / Spearot, Alan

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Abstract

Women may under-report intimate partner violence (IPV) in surveys due to a variety of social and psychological factors. To understand if anonymized interviewing can allay this concern, we conduct a measurement experiment in rural Liberia and Malawi in which women were asked IPV questions via either self-interviewing (SI) or face-to-face interviewing (FTFI) with an enumerator. We find that about a third of women incorrectly answer basic screening questions over SI, and that it generates placebo effects on innocuous questions even for those who "pass" screening. Because the probability of responding "yes" to any specific IPV question is less than 50%, and that IPV is typically reported as an index (reporting yes to at least one question in a category of violence), such misunderstanding will tend to increase IPV reporting. In Malawi, we find that SI dramatically increases reported IPV, with the incidence of any type of IPV increasing by 13 percentage points on a base of 20%; in Liberia, we find an insignificant and modest increase of 4 percentage points on a base of 39%. Our results suggest SI may spuriously increase reported IPV rates.

Issue Date
2021-12
Publisher
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
Pages
40
URI
https://archives.kdischool.ac.kr/handle/11125/43242
URL
https://www.nber.org/papers/w29584
DOI
10.3386/w29584
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