How accurate are recall data? Evidence from coastal India
This paper investigates the accuracy of recall data by comparing administrative records with retrospective, self-reported survey responses to income and asset questions for a sample of self-employed households from coastal India. It finds that the magnitude of the recall error increases over time, in part because respondents resort to inference rather than memory. Monthly earnings that are higher than the median are also better recalled. These results have implications for the accuracy of the moments of the self-reported earnings distribution. It also finds that income earners are more accurate than their wives. In addition, the use of time cues can worsen accuracy if they are not relevant to the respondent, and the position of the recall questions in the two-hour long survey does not affect accuracy.
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