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Using PDA consistency checks to increase the precision of profits and sales measurement in panels

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  • Fafchamps, Marcel
  • McKenzie, David
  • Quinn, Simon
  • Woodruff, Christopher

Abstract

Personalized Digital Assistants (PDAs) and other forms of hardware needed to collect survey data electronically have become more affordable and powerful in recent years, leading to their use in a number of surveys in developing countries. Simple use of these devices can offer the prospect of more timely data entry and greater accuracy in guiding respondents through skip patterns. Further benefits are possible through the use of more complex consistency checks. We use PDAs to measure sales and profits for microenterprises, which are notoriously noisy. Consistency checks in the cross-section compare sales and profits, while those in the panel query responses which result in large changes from one period to the next. Cross-sectional checks also served as a second prompt in the case of missing profits. These checks do succeed in reducing the standard deviation and in increasing the correlation of the observations for which corrections are made. However, we find that the vast majority of large changes in enterprise sales and profits are confirmed by firm owners as genuine, highlighting the volatility of income in this sector. As a result, the overall impact of these consistency checks on the full sample is rather limited, suggesting that while such checks are useful if computerized forms of data collection are being used, the consistency checks per se are not a strong reason for using computerized data collection in collecting firm profits and sales.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Development Economics.

Volume (Year): 98 (2012)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
Pages: 51-57

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Handle: RePEc:eee:deveco:v:98:y:2012:i:1:p:51-57

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/devec

Related research

Keywords: Microenterprises; Measurement; Profits; Panel; Survey methods; Electronic data collection;

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References

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  1. Gibson, John & McKenzie, David, 2007. "Using the global positioning system in household surveys for better economics and better policy," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4195, The World Bank.
  2. John Gibson & David McKenzie, 2007. "Using the Global Positioning System (GPS) in Household Surveys For Better Economics and Better Policy," Working Papers in Economics 07/04, University of Waikato, Department of Economics.
  3. Pascaline Dupas & Jonathan Robinson, 2013. "Savings Constraints and Microenterprise Development: Evidence from a Field Experiment in Kenya," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 5(1), pages 163-92, January.
  4. John Gibson & David McKenzie, 2007. "Using Global Positioning Systems in Household Surveys for Better Economics and Better Policy," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 22(2), pages 217-241, September.
  5. de Mel, Suresh & McKenzie, David J. & Woodruff, Christopher, 2009. "Measuring microenterprise profits: Must we ask how the sausage is made?," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(1), pages 19-31, January.
  6. David McKenzie & Christopher Woodruff, 2008. "Experimental Evidence on Returns to Capital and Access to Finance in Mexico," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 22(3), pages 457-482, November.
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Cited by:
  1. McKenzie, David, 2012. "Beyond baseline and follow-up: The case for more T in experiments," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 99(2), pages 210-221.
  2. repec:cge:warwcg:115 is not listed on IDEAS
  3. Paolo Falco, 2013. "Does risk matter for occupational choices? Experimental evidence from an African labour market," CSAE Working Paper Series 2013-15, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
  4. McKenzie, David, 2011. "How can we learn whether firm policies are working in africa ? challenges (and solutions?) for experiments and structural models," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5632, The World Bank.
  5. McKenzie, David & Woodruff, Christopher, 2013. "What are we learning from business training and entrepreneurship evaluations around the developing world?," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 116, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
  6. Caeyers, Bet & Chalmers, Neil & De Weerdt, Joachim, 2012. "Improving consumption measurement and other survey data through CAPI: Evidence from a randomized experiment," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 98(1), pages 19-33.
  7. Fafchamps, Marcel & McKenzie, David & Quinn, Simon & Woodruff, Christopher, 2014. "Microenterprise growth and the flypaper effect: Evidence from a randomized experiment in Ghana," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 106(C), pages 211-226.
  8. Francisco J. Buera & Joseph P. Kaboski & Yongseok Shin, 2013. "The macroeconomics of microfinance," Working Papers 2013-034, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.

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