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Can survey participation alter household saving behavior?

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  • Thomas Crossley

    ()
    (Institute for Fiscal Studies and University of Essex)

  • Jochem de Bresser
  • Liam Delaney
  • Joachim Winter

    ()
    (Institute for Fiscal Studies and Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München)

Abstract

Much empirical research in economics is based on data from household surveys. Panel surveys are particularly valuable for understanding dynamics and heterogeneity. A possible concern with panel surveys is that survey participation itself may alter subsequent behavior. We provide novel evidence of survey effects on a central life-cycle choice: household saving. We exploit randomized assignment to survey modules within the LISS Panel, an internet panel survey which is representative of the Dutch population. We find that households that respond to detailed questions on expenditures and needs in retirement reduced their non-housing saving rate by 3.5 percentage points, on average. This mean effect is driven by high-education households which have the highest pension and housing wealth. Our saving measure is based on linked administrative wealth data. Thus we can rule out the possibility that the effect is on reporting, rather than on the underlying saving behavior. One interpretation is that the survey acted as a salience shock, possibly with respect to reduced housing costs in retirement.

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Paper provided by Institute for Fiscal Studies in its series IFS Working Papers with number W14/06.

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Date of creation: Mar 2014
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Handle: RePEc:ifs:ifsewp:14/06

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  1. Fitzsimons, Gavan J & Shiv, Baba, 2001. " Nonconscious and Contaminative Effects of Hypothetical Questions on Subsequent Decision Making," Journal of Consumer Research, University of Chicago Press, vol. 28(2), pages 224-38, September.
  2. Markus Frolich & Blaise Melly, 2010. "Estimation of quantile treatment effects with Stata," Stata Journal, StataCorp LP, vol. 10(3), pages 423-457, September.
  3. Schunk, Daniel & Binswanger, Johannes, 2008. "What is an Adequate Standard of Living during Retirement?," Sonderforschungsbereich 504 Publications 08-48, Sonderforschungsbereich 504, Universität Mannheim & Sonderforschungsbereich 504, University of Mannheim.
  4. S. Dellavigna., 2011. "Psychology and Economics: Evidence from the Field," VOPROSY ECONOMIKI, N.P. Redaktsiya zhurnala "Voprosy Economiki", vol. 5.
  5. Esther Duflo & William Gale & Jeffrey Liebman & Peter Orszag & Emmanuel Saez, 2005. "Saving Incentives for Low- and Middle-Income Families: Evidence from a Field Experiment with H&R Block," NBER Working Papers 11680, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Markus Frölich & Blaise Melly, 2013. "Unconditional Quantile Treatment Effects Under Endogeneity," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 31(3), pages 346-357, July.
  7. Marcel Das & Vera Toepoel & Arthur van Soest, 2011. "Nonparametric Tests of Panel Conditioning and Attrition Bias in Panel Surveys," Sociological Methods & Research, , vol. 40(1), pages 32-56, February.
  8. Martin Browning & Mette Gørtz & Søren Leth‐Petersen, 2013. "Housing Wealth and Consumption: A Micro Panel Study," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 0, pages 401-428, 05.
  9. Morwitz, Vicki G & Johnson, Eric J & Schmittlein, David C, 1993. " Does Measuring Intent Change Behavior?," Journal of Consumer Research, University of Chicago Press, vol. 20(1), pages 46-61, June.
  10. Martin Browning & Thomas Crossley & Joachim Winter, 2014. "The measurement of household consumption expenditures," IFS Working Papers W14/07, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  11. Bert Van Landeghem, 2012. "Panel Conditioning and Self-Reported Satisfaction: Evidence from International Panel Data and Repeated Cross-Sections," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 484, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
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