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The Effect of Interviewer Gender on the Survey Response



We examined the existence of gender-of-interviewer effects in two local-area surveys in which male and female interviewers were randomly assigned to interview male and female respondents. Small but consistent gender-of-interviewer effects arose on questions related to the women's movement, women's issues, and gender equality, demonstrating that, as expected, respondents were more likely to provide feminist answers to female interviewers. Gender-of-interviewer effects were somewhat more pronounced and consistent on controversial political topics: the women's movement (feminists and political activism) and their policy agenda. There was mixed evidence on whether respondents were equally susceptible to gender-of-interviewer effects. In one of the surveys, gender-of-interviewer effects were more pronounced among less well-educated and younger respondents than among respondents who were better educated or older. This effect was not replicated in the second survey.