Determinants and Consequences of Survey Respondents� Social Desirability Beliefs about Racial Attitudes
In this article we analyze beliefs about the social desirability of ten racial attitude items from the German General Social Survey (ALLBUS). These beliefs indicate that the items, as well as respondents with regard to different sex, age and education, are differently prone to social desirability bias. Demographic response differences may thus only reflect differences in social desirability bias. We matched the desirability differences between the items and demographic groups with the racial attitude responses from the independent, nationwide sample of the ALLBUS survey in 1996. The desirability beliefs obtained from our urban, West German sample predicted the attitude answers, and this predictability was stronger for ALLBUS respondents with the same characteristics. Our results suggest that the ALLBUS data is subject to social desirability bias, that particular items are more strongly affected, and that differences in the attitude reports according to the respondents� age and education should be interpreted with caution.
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