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Using the Global Positioning System (GPS) in Household Surveys For Better Economics and Better Policy

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Author Info

  • John Gibson

    ()
    (University of Waikato)

  • David McKenzie

    (Development Research Group, The World Bank)

Abstract

Distance and location are important determinants of many choices that economists study. While these variables can sometimes be obtained from secondary data, economists often rely on information that is self-reported by respondents in surveys. These self-reports are used especially for the distance from households or community centers to various features such as roads, markets, schools, clinics and other public services. There is growing evidence that self-reported distance is measured with error and that these errors are correlated with outcomes of interest. In contrast to self-reports, the Global Positioning System (GPS) can determine almost exact location (typically within 15 meters). The falling cost of GPS receivers (typically below US$100) makes it increasingly feasible for field surveys to use GPS as a better method of measuring location and distance. In this paper we review four ways that GPS can lead to better economics and better policy: (i) through constructing instrumental variables that can be used to understand the causal impact of policies, (ii) by helping to understand policy externalities and spillovers, (iii) through better understanding of the access to services, and (iv) by improving the collection of household survey data. We also discuss several pitfalls and unresolved problems with using GPS in household surveys.

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File URL: ftp://mngt.waikato.ac.nz/RePEc/wai/econwp/0704.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Waikato, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers in Economics with number 07/04.

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Length: 23 pages
Date of creation: 19 Mar 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wai:econwp:07/04

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Keywords: distance; externalities; global positioning system; location; survey measurement;

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References

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  1. Fafchamps, Marcel & Wahba, Jackline, 2006. "Child labor, urban proximity, and household composition," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 79(2), pages 374-397, April.
  2. Conley, T.G. & Udry, C.R., 2000. "Learning about a New Technology: Pineapple in Ghana," Papers 817, Yale - Economic Growth Center.
  3. Benjamin A. Olken, 2006. "Do Television and Radio Destroy Social Capital? Evidence from Indonesian Villages," Working Papers id:642, eSocialSciences.
  4. Caroline M. Hoxby, 2000. "Does Competition among Public Schools Benefit Students and Taxpayers?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(5), pages 1209-1238, December.
  5. Anselin, Luc, 2002. "Under the hood : Issues in the specification and interpretation of spatial regression models," Agricultural Economics, Blackwell, vol. 27(3), pages 247-267, November.
  6. Emily Oster, 2007. "HIV and Sexual Behavior Change: Why Not Africa?," NBER Working Papers 13049, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  8. Barbara Entwisle & Albert Hermalin & Peerasit Kamnuansilpa & Apichat Chamratrithirong, 1984. "A multilevel model of family planning availability and contraceptive use in rural Thailand," Demography, Springer, vol. 21(4), pages 559-574, November.
  9. John Gibson & Geua Boe-Gibson & Halahingano Rohorua & David McKenzie, 2007. "Efficient remittance services for development in the Pacific," Asia-Pacific Development Journal, United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), vol. 14(2), pages 55-74, December.
  10. Ravallion, Martin, 2005. "Evaluating anti-poverty programs," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3625, The World Bank.
  11. Gibson, John & Olivia, Susan, 2007. "Spatial autocorrelation and non-farm rural enterprises in Indonesia," 2007 Conference (51st), February 13-16, 2007, Queenstown, New Zealand 10387, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society.
  12. Woodruff, Christopher & Zenteno, Rene, 2007. "Migration networks and microenterprises in Mexico," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 82(2), pages 509-528, March.
  13. Javier Escobal & Sonia Laszlo, 2005. "Measurement Error in Access to Markets," Development and Comp Systems 0503008, EconWPA.
  14. Heckman, James J & Ichimura, Hidehiko & Todd, Petra E, 1997. "Matching as an Econometric Evaluation Estimator: Evidence from Evaluating a Job Training Programme," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 64(4), pages 605-54, October.
  15. Staal, S. J. & Baltenweck, I. & Waithaka, M. M. & deWolff, T. & Njoroge, L., 2002. "Location and uptake: integrated household and GIS analysis of technology adoption and land use, with application to smallholder dairy farms in Kenya," Agricultural Economics, Blackwell, vol. 27(3), pages 295-315, November.
  16. Barbara Entwisle & Ronald Rindfuss & Stephen Walsh & Tom Evans & Sara Curran, 1997. "Geographic information systems, spatial network analysis, and contraceptive choice," Demography, Springer, vol. 34(2), pages 171-187, May.
  17. Perry, Baker & Gesler, Wil, 2000. "Physical access to primary health care in Andean Bolivia," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 50(9), pages 1177-1188, May.
  18. Rebecca L. Thornton, 2008. "The Demand for, and Impact of, Learning HIV Status," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(5), pages 1829-63, December.
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Citations

Blog mentions

As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
  1. Some promising-ish news on rainfall insurance
    by David McKenzie in Development Impact on 2012-11-05 00:20:58
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Cited by:
  1. de Andrade, Gustavo Henrique & Bruhn, Miriam & McKenzie, David, 2013. "A helping hand or the long arm of the law ? experimental evidence on what governments can do to formalize firms," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6435, The World Bank.
  2. Florence Kondylis & Marco Manacorda, 2012. "School Proximity and Child Labor: Evidence from Rural Tanzania," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 47(1), pages 32-63.
  3. McKenzie, David & Woodruff, Christopher, 2012. "What are we learning from business training and entrepreneurship evaluations around the developing world ?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6202, The World Bank.
  4. Carletto, Calogero & Savastano, Sara & Zezza, Alberto, 2013. "Fact or artifact: The impact of measurement errors on the farm size–productivity relationship," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 103(C), pages 254-261.
  5. Marcel Fafchamps & Simon Quinn & David McKenzie and Christopher Woodruff, 2010. "Using PDA consistency checks to increase the precision of profits and sales measurement in panels," Economics Series Working Papers CSAE WPS/2010-19, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  6. McKenzie, David & Sakho, Yaye Seynabou, 2007. "Does it pay firms to register for taxes ? the impact of formality on firm profitability," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4449, The World Bank.
  7. Suresh de Mel & David McKenzie & Christopher Woodruff, 2008. "Returns to Capital in Microenterprises: Evidence from a Field Experiment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 123(4), pages 1329-1372, November.
  8. John Gibson & Xiangzheng Deng & Geua Boe-Gibson & Scott Rozelle & Jikun Huang, 2008. "Which Households Are Most Distant from Health Centers in Rural China? Evidence from a GIS Network Analysis," Working Papers in Economics 08/19, University of Waikato, Department of Economics.
  9. Ana Corbacho & Rene Osorio Rivas, 2012. "Travelling the Distance: A GPS-Based Study of the Access to Birth Registration Services in Latin America and the Caribbean," IDB Publications 64458, Inter-American Development Bank.
  10. World Bank, 2009. "Increasing Formality and Productivity of Bolivian Firms," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 2675, March.

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