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Effect of social desirability on survey responses: Based on a question from Statistics Korea’s social survey
Journal of the Korean Data & Information Science Society 2021;32:969-81
Published online September 30, 2021;
© 2021 Korean Data and Information Science Society.

Sunyeong Heo1

1Department of Statistics, Changwon National University
Correspondence to: 1 Professor, Department of Statistics, Changwon National University, Changwon 51140, Korea.
This research was supported by Changwon National University in 2021∼2022.
Received August 6, 2021; Revised September 10, 2021; Accepted September 16, 2021.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
In survey, respondents often have a tendency to respond as the way which people think socially desirable, and that is called social desirability bias. This research examined a social desirability effect using a question in Statistics Korea’s social survey. The question asked about the degree of discrimination in two ways; one is the degree of my discrimination and the other is the degree of discrimination in our society. Empirical analysis was conducted using the data provided from Statistics Korea’s microdata integrated service. The analysis results show that the response distributions between two questions are greatly different. In the question asking my discrimination, the proportions of “never” or “little” discrimination were very high, but in the question asking society’s discrimination, the proportions of “a little severly”, “severly” or “very severly” discrimination were very high. In the subpopulation analysis, the social desirability effect was larger in higher education group, the largest in college graduate or higher group. In age group, the effect was the largest in aged 30’s and 40’s and followed by 10∼20’s, 50’s, 60’s or up.
Keywords : Homogeneity, social desirability, Statistics Korea’s social survey, survey response, Wald test.