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Using Sampled Social Network Data to Estimate Adult Death Rates

Dennis Feehan

Surveys have traditionally been based on the idea that researchers can estimate characteristics of a population by obtaining a sample of individuals and asking them to report about themselves. Network reporting surveys generalize this traditional approach by asking survey respondents to report about members of their personal networks. This approach can be used to study many important rare and hidden populations for which traditional survey methods are inadequate; for example, the approach has been used to estimate the size of epidemiologically important groups like sex workers, drug injectors, and men who have sex with men. I will introduce a framework for developing estimators from network reporting surveys, and present some results from a nationally-representative survey experiment that my colleagues and I conducted to estimate adult death rates in Rwanda.