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On the use and nonuse of surveys in economics

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Author Info

  • Bryan Boulier
  • Robert Goldfarb

Abstract

While it is widely alleged that economists do not like or use questionnaire surveys, the facts are considerably more complicated. Economists make extensive use of survey information on such things as prices and employment, and the use of 'contingent valuation' surveys has exploded recently. The paper reviews the historical debate that led to economists' seeming distrust of surveys. It then investigates why there is extensive use of surveys in the face of methodological strictures against survey use. To do this, the paper develops a typology of kinds of information that can be gathered by surveys and considers whether anti-survey arguments apply with equal force to the various categories. Differing methodological uses for survey data are then considered, using a number of actual survey literatures as illustrations. Finally, the paper presents strategies for improving the use of survey data in economics.

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File URL: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/13501789800000001
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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal Journal of Economic Methodology.

Volume (Year): 5 (1998)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
Pages: 1-21

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Handle: RePEc:taf:jecmet:v:5:y:1998:i:1:p:1-21

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Web page: http://www.tandfonline.com/RJEC20

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Related research

Keywords: survey methods; survey data; questionnaires; contingent valuation; economic methodology; measurement;

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Cited by:
  1. John K. Horowitz & Kenneth E. McConnell & James J. Murphy, 2012. "Behavioral Foundations of Environmental Economics and Valuation," Working Papers 2012-03, University of Alaska Anchorage, Department of Economics.
  2. Robert Goldfarb & Thomas Leonard & Steven Suranovic, 2001. "Are rival theories of smoking underdetermined?," Journal of Economic Methodology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 8(2), pages 229-251.
  3. Thomas Mayer, 2004. "The Influence Of Friedman'S Methodological Essay," Working Papers 41, University of California, Davis, Department of Economics.
  4. Carson, Richard T. & Hanemann, W. Michael, 2006. "Contingent Valuation," Handbook of Environmental Economics, in: K. G. Mäler & J. R. Vincent (ed.), Handbook of Environmental Economics, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 17, pages 821-936 Elsevier.
  5. Lind, Hans, 2007. "The story and the model done: An evaluation of mathematical models of rent control," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(2), pages 183-198, March.
  6. Carlo Gola, 2000. "Export pricing strategy of Italian firms: from the depreciation of the lira to the euro," LIUC Papers in Economics 77, Cattaneo University (LIUC).

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