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Measuring aspirations: discussion and example from Ethiopia:

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  • Bernard, Tanguy
  • Taffesse, Alemayehu Seyoum

Abstract

Individuals’ aspirations and their consequences for future-oriented behavior have received increased attention in devel-opment economics literature in recent years. At this stage, however, each study relies on ad hoc empirical instruments to measure aspirations, thereby limiting comparability of the results obtained. This paper proposes a simple measurement instrument that spans several dimensions aggregated via individual-specific weights. We use a purposefully collected data set to test for the usability, reliability, and validity of the instrument. In addition to standard test-retest procedures, our innovation lies in the use of several randomized tests introduced within the questionnaires themselves, in the enumerators’ qualifications, and in the information set available to respondents. Overall results show strong support for the proposed instrument, with the caveat that collection of such attitudinal data requires experienced enumerators capable of adequately probing respondents.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) in its series IFPRI discussion papers with number 1190.

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Date of creation: 2012
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Handle: RePEc:fpr:ifprid:1190

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Related research

Keywords: Poverty; Surveys Methodology; Sampling; microeconomic analysis; microeconomic behavior;

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References

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  1. Hausmann, Ricardo & Rodrik, Dani, 2003. "Economic development as self-discovery," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(2), pages 603-633, December.
  2. Bernard, Tanguy & Dercon, Stefan & Taffesse, Alemayehu Seyoum, 2012. "Beyond fatalism: An empirical exploration of self-efficacy and aspirations failure in Ethiopia:," ESSP working papers 46, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  3. Sendhil Mullainathan & Marianne Bertrand, 2001. "Do People Mean What They Say? Implications for Subjective Survey Data," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(2), pages 67-72, May.
  4. Stutzer, Alois, 2004. "The role of income aspirations in individual happiness," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 54(1), pages 89-109, May.
  5. Delavande, Adeline & Giné, Xavier & McKenzie, David, 2011. "Measuring subjective expectations in developing countries: A critical review and new evidence," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(2), pages 151-163, March.
  6. Knight, John & Gunatilaka, Ramani, 2012. "Income, aspirations and the Hedonic Treadmill in a poor society," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 82(1), pages 67-81.
  7. Macours, Karen & Vakis, Renos, 2009. "Changing households'investments and aspirations through social interactions : evidence from a randomized transfer program," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5137, The World Bank.
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Cited by:
  1. Risso Brandon, Fiorella & Pasquier-Doumer, Laure, 2013. "Aspiration failure: a poverty trap for indigenous children in Peru?," Economics Papers from University Paris Dauphine 123456789/12016, Paris Dauphine University.
  2. Kosec, Katrina & Hameed, Madeeha & Hausladen, Stephanie, 2012. "Aspirations in rural Pakistan: An empirical analysis," PSSP working papers 9, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).

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