Experimental Tests of Survey Responses to Expenditure Questions
AbstractThis paper tests for a number of survey effects in the elicitation of expenditure items. In particular we examine the extent to which individuals use features of the expenditure question to construct their answers. We test whether respondents interpret question wording as researchers intend and examine the extent to which prompts, clarifications and seemingly arbitrary features of survey design influence expenditure reports. We find that over one quarter of respondents have difficulty distinguishing between "you" and “your household” when making expenditure reports; that respondents report higher pro-rata expenditure when asked to give responses on a weekly as opposed to monthly or annual time scale; that respondents give higher estimates when using a scale with a higher mid-point; and that respondents report higher aggregated expenditure when categories are presented in a disaggregated form. In summary, expenditure reports are constructed using convenient rules of thumb and available information, which will depend on the characteristics of the respondent, the expenditure domain and features of the survey question. It is crucial to further account for these features in ongoing surveys.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 4389.
Length: 21 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2009
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Fiscal Studies, 2009, 30 (3-4), 419-433
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Other versions of this item:
- David Comerford & Liam Delaney & Colm Harmon, 2009. "Experimental Tests of Survey Responses to Expenditure Questions," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 30(Special I), pages 419-433, December.
- David Comerford & Liam Delaney & Colm Harmon, 2009. "Experimental Tests of Survey Responses to Expenditure Questions," Working Papers 200925, Geary Institute, University College Dublin.
- D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics; Underlying Principles
- D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
- C81 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Data Collection and Data Estimation Methodology; Computer Programs - - - Methodology for Collecting, Estimating, and Organizing Microeconomic Data; Data Access
- C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2009-10-10 (All new papers)
- NEP-ECM-2009-10-10 (Econometrics)
- NEP-EXP-2009-10-10 (Experimental Economics)
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Blog mentionsAs found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
- Bundle: Microeconomic Insights from Citibank Data
by Martin Ryan in Geary Behaviour Centre on 2011-02-06 21:14:00
- Geary Working Paper - Experimental Tests of Expenditure Response
by Liam Delaney in Geary Behaviour Centre on 2009-08-12 11:22:00
- Geary Summer Internships
by Liam Delaney in Geary Behaviour Centre on 2011-02-20 21:27:00
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in: Improving the Measurement of Consumer Expenditures
National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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"Methods of household consumption measurement through surveys: Experimental results from Tanzania,"
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