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The Effects of Bracketing in Wealth Estimation


  • Harish Chand
  • Li Gan


The use of bracketing in wealth surveys is sometimes criticized on the grounds that it will encourage respondents to substitute rough guesses for careful thought. In such a manner, the use of bracketing will "crowd out" more specific answers, creating the illusion of a reduction in nonresponse. This paper examines the patterns of wealth response in the first two waves of the Health and Retirement Study. On average, people do not appear to transition to bracketing. New tests of the breakeven level of crowding-out are suggested. Based on the explanatory power of the brackets, the degree of crowding-out which would be necessary to make the use of bracketing counterproductive appears to be much higher than plausible. Copyright 2003 by the International Association for Research in Income and Wealth.

Suggested Citation

  • Harish Chand & Li Gan, 2003. "The Effects of Bracketing in Wealth Estimation," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 49(2), pages 273-287, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:revinw:v:49:y:2003:i:2:p:273-287

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Robert I. Lerman & Shlomo Yitzhaki, 1994. "Effect of Marginal Changes in Income Sources On U.S. Income Inequality," Public Finance Review, , vol. 22(4), pages 403-417, October.
    2. Lerman, Robert I. & Yitzhaki, Shlomo, 1989. "Improving the accuracy of estimates of Gini coefficients," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 42(1), pages 43-47, September.
    3. Lerman, Robert I. & Yitzhaki, Shlomo, 1984. "A note on the calculation and interpretation of the Gini index," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 15(3-4), pages 363-368.
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    Cited by:

    1. Gan, Li & Gong, Guan & Hurd, Michael & McFadden, Daniel, 2015. "Subjective mortality risk and bequests," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 188(2), pages 514-525.
    2. Erin Ruel & Robert Hauser, 2013. "Explaining the Gender Wealth Gap," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 50(4), pages 1155-1176, August.

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