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Can you trust survey responses? Evidence using objective health measures


  • Suziedelyte, Agne
  • Johar, Meliyanni


We investigate the common assumption in applied research that reporting errors are negligible in variables where there is no clear incentive for misreporting. Using major medical operations, we find high misreporting rates, but the coefficients of their predictors remain unbiased.

Suggested Citation

  • Suziedelyte, Agne & Johar, Meliyanni, 2013. "Can you trust survey responses? Evidence using objective health measures," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 121(2), pages 163-166.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolet:v:121:y:2013:i:2:p:163-166 DOI: 10.1016/j.econlet.2013.07.027

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Timothy Erickson & Toni M. Whited, 2000. "Measurement Error and the Relationship between Investment and q," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(5), pages 1027-1057, October.
    2. Butler, J S, et al, 1987. "Measurement Error in Self-reported Health Variables," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 69(4), pages 644-650, November.
    3. Bound, John & Brown, Charles & Mathiowetz, Nancy, 2001. "Measurement error in survey data," Handbook of Econometrics,in: J.J. Heckman & E.E. Leamer (ed.), Handbook of Econometrics, edition 1, volume 5, chapter 59, pages 3705-3843 Elsevier.
    4. Johnston, David W. & Propper, Carol & Shields, Michael A., 2009. "Comparing subjective and objective measures of health: Evidence from hypertension for the income/health gradient," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(3), pages 540-552, May.
    5. Brownstone, David & Valletta, Robert G, 1996. "Modeling Earnings Measurement Error: A Multiple Imputation Approach," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 78(4), pages 705-717, November.
    6. Janet Currie, 2009. "Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise: Socioeconomic Status, Poor Health in Childhood, and Human Capital Development," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 47(1), pages 87-122, March.
    7. Gabriella Conti & James Heckman & Sergio Urzua, 2010. "The Education-Health Gradient," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(2), pages 234-238, May.
    8. Kreider, Brent & Pepper, John V., 2007. "Disability and Employment: Reevaluating the Evidence in Light of Reporting Errors," Journal of the American Statistical Association, American Statistical Association, vol. 102, pages 432-441, June.
    9. Teresa Bago d'Uva & Eddy Van Doorslaer & Maarten Lindeboom & Owen O'Donnell, 2008. "Does reporting heterogeneity bias the measurement of health disparities?," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 17(3), pages 351-375.
    10. Adriana Lleras-Muney, 2005. "The Relationship Between Education and Adult Mortality in the United States," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 72(1), pages 189-221.
    11. Dwyer, Debra Sabatini & Mitchell, Olivia S., 1999. "Health problems as determinants of retirement: Are self-rated measures endogenous?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 173-193, April.
    12. Vidhura Tennekoon & Robert Rosenman, 2014. "‘Behold, A Virgin Is With Hiv!’ Misreporting Sexual Behavior Among Infected Adolescents," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 23(3), pages 345-358, March.
    13. Akee, Randall, 2011. "Errors in self-reported earnings: The role of previous earnings volatility and individual characteristics," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(2), pages 409-421, November.
    14. Meliyanni Johar & Elizabeth Savage & Olena Stavrunova & Glenn Jones & Michael Keane, 2012. "Geographic Differences in Hospital Waiting Times," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 88(281), pages 165-181, June.
    15. Kristin J. Forbes, 2000. "A Reassessment of the Relationship between Inequality and Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(4), pages 869-887, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. Perry Singleton & Ling Li, 2016. "A Framework for Measurement Error in Self-Reported Health Conditions," Center for Policy Research Working Papers 191, Center for Policy Research, Maxwell School, Syracuse University.
    2. repec:eee:socmed:v:191:y:2017:i:c:p:9-18 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Lee, Yong-Woo, 2016. "State Dependence, Unobserved Heterogeneity, And Health Dynamics In Korea," Hitotsubashi Journal of Economics, Hitotsubashi University, vol. 57(2), pages 195-221, December.
    4. Bertha Maya Sopha, 2013. "Sustainable Paper Consumption: Exploring Behavioral Factors," Social Sciences, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 2(4), pages 1-14, November.
    5. Nakamura, Sayaka, 2014. "Parental income and child health in Japan," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 32(C), pages 42-55.
    6. repec:eee:ehbiol:v:26:y:2017:i:c:p:112-125 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item


    Measurement error; Health; Socio economic status;

    JEL classification:

    • C1 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General
    • I1 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health
    • I2 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education


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