Research Talk by Martijn de Jong, Erasmus University Rotterdam (NL)
Martijn de Jong from Erasmus University Rotterdam presented his research on sensitive consumer behavior in our Research Seminar Series on November 8, 2018. Marketing managers, policy makers, and researchers are often interested in assessing the prevalence and drivers of “dark side” and “vice” consumer behaviors, such as illegal movie streaming, software downloading, shoplifting, tax evasion, consumption of prohibited drugs, pornographic material, alcohol, or tobacco. For survey researchers, it is challenging to obtain accurate information about these behaviors because of their sensitive and sometimes unlawful nature, i.e., consumers may not respond truthfully to direct questions about such behaviors even when these are common. In his talk, Martijn focused on a new truth-telling technique and statistical model called “Item Count Response Technique” to assess the prevalence and drivers of sensitive consumer behavior. To demonstrate the effectiveness of the approach, he presented the results from a simulation study and a large scale application to self-reported cigarette consumption among pregnant women. The empirical application reveals a significant downward bias in prevalence estimates when questions about cigarette consumption are asked directly. The last part of the talk focused on the ability of the model to include individual level predictors to analyze drivers of sensitive behavior (e.g., to design counter-measures). We thank Martijn for his visit, and the inspiring talk and discussions.