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Interviewer effects and the measurement of financial literacy


  • Thomas F. Crossley
  • Tobias Schmidt
  • Panagiota Tzamourani
  • Joachim K. Winter


In this paper, we ask whether interviewers influence the answers to a standard set of survey questions on financial literacy. We study data from Germany's wealth survey, the Panel on Household Finances (PHF). We have access to extensive auxiliary data, including interviewer identifiers, background characteristics of interviewers and measures of interviewer activity through the survey. We find that interviewer effects explain a significant fraction of the variance of the financial literacy score, and intra‐interviewer correlations are notably larger for the financial literacy score than for other survey variables. We explore how accounting for interviewer effects can improve estimates of the effects of financial literacy on financial behaviours and outcomes.

Suggested Citation

  • Thomas F. Crossley & Tobias Schmidt & Panagiota Tzamourani & Joachim K. Winter, 2021. "Interviewer effects and the measurement of financial literacy," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 184(1), pages 150-178, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:jorssa:v:184:y:2021:i:1:p:150-178
    DOI: 10.1111/rssa.12617

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Ian Brunton-Smith & Patrick Sturgis & George Leckie, 2017. "Detecting and understanding interviewer effects on survey data by using a cross-classified mixed effects location–scale model," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 180(2), pages 551-568, February.
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    2. Elisabeth Beckmann & Christa Hainz & Sarah Reiter, 2022. "Third-Party Loan Guarantees: Measuring Literacy and its Effect on Financial Decisions (Elisabeth Beckmann, Christa Hainz, Sarah Reiter)," Working Papers 237, Oesterreichische Nationalbank (Austrian Central Bank).
    3. Zuzana Brokesova & Andrej Cupak & Anthony Lepinteur & Marian Rizov, 2021. "Wealth, Assets and Life Satisfaction: A Metadata Instrumental-Variable Approach," Working and Discussion Papers WP 4/2021, Research Department, National Bank of Slovakia.
    4. Elisabeth Beckmann & Lukas Olbrich & Joseph Sakshaug, 2024. "Multivariate assessment of interviewer-related errors in a cross-national economic survey (Lukas Olbrich, Elisabeth Beckmann, Joseph W. Sakshaug)," Working Papers 253, Oesterreichische Nationalbank (Austrian Central Bank).
    5. Cupák, Andrej & Fessler, Pirmin & Hsu, Joanne W. & Paradowski, Piotr R., 2022. "Investor confidence and high financial literacy jointly shape investments in risky assets," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 116(C).
    6. Andrzej Cwynar & Beata Świecka & Kamil Filipek & Robert Porzak, 2022. "Consumers' knowledge of cashless payments: Development, validation, and usability of a measurement scale," Journal of Consumer Affairs, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 56(2), pages 640-665, June.
    7. Zuzana Brokesova & Andrej Cupak & Gueorgui Kolev, 2017. "Financial literacy and voluntary savings for retirement in Slovakia," Working and Discussion Papers WP 10/2017, Research Department, National Bank of Slovakia.
    8. Bucher-Koenen, Tabea & Janssen, Bennet & Knebel, Caroline & Tzamourani, Panagiota, 2023. "Financial literacy, stock market participation, and financial well-being in Germany," ZEW Discussion Papers 23-071, ZEW - Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research.

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