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On the use and nonuse of surveys in economics

Author

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  • Bryan Boulier
  • Robert Goldfarb

Abstract

While it is widely alleged that economists do not like or use questionnaire surveys, the facts are considerably more complicated. Economists make extensive use of survey information on such things as prices and employment, and the use of 'contingent valuation' surveys has exploded recently. The paper reviews the historical debate that led to economists' seeming distrust of surveys. It then investigates why there is extensive use of surveys in the face of methodological strictures against survey use. To do this, the paper develops a typology of kinds of information that can be gathered by surveys and considers whether anti-survey arguments apply with equal force to the various categories. Differing methodological uses for survey data are then considered, using a number of actual survey literatures as illustrations. Finally, the paper presents strategies for improving the use of survey data in economics.

Suggested Citation

  • Bryan Boulier & Robert Goldfarb, 1998. "On the use and nonuse of surveys in economics," Journal of Economic Methodology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 5(1), pages 1-21.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:jecmet:v:5:y:1998:i:1:p:1-21
    DOI: 10.1080/13501789800000001
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. F. Thomas Juster, 1964. "Anticipations and Purchases: An Analysis of Consumer Behavior," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number just64-1, June.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Thomas Mayer, 2004. "The Influence Of Friedman'S Methodological Essay," Working Papers 41, University of California, Davis, Department of Economics.
    2. Richard T. Carson, 2011. "Contingent Valuation," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 2489, April.
    3. John Rand, 2017. "Are politically connected firms less constrained in credit markets?," WIDER Working Paper Series 200, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    4. Mazzanti, Massimiliano, 2003. "Valuing cultural heritage in a multi-attribute framework microeconomic perspectives and policy implications," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 32(5), pages 549-569, November.
    5. Lind, Hans, 2007. "The story and the model done: An evaluation of mathematical models of rent control," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(2), pages 183-198, March.
    6. Mikael Apel & Carl Andreas Claussen & Petra Gerlach-Kristen & Petra Lennartsdotter & Øistein Røisland, 2013. "Monetary policy decisions – comparing theory and “inside” information from MPC members," Working Paper 2013/03, Norges Bank.
    7. Carlo Gola, 2000. "Export pricing strategy of Italian firms: from the depreciation of the lira to the euro," LIUC Papers in Economics 77, Cattaneo University (LIUC).
    8. John K. Horowitz & Kenneth E. McConnell & James J. Murphy, 2013. "Behavioral foundations of environmental economics and valuation," Chapters,in: Handbook on Experimental Economics and the Environment, chapter 4, pages 115-156 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    9. Robert Goldfarb & Thomas Leonard & Steven Suranovic, 2001. "Are rival theories of smoking underdetermined?," Journal of Economic Methodology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 8(2), pages 229-251.
    10. Mikael Apel & Carl Andreas Claussen & Petra Lennartsdotter & Øistein Røisland, 2015. "Monetary Policy Committees: Comparing Theory and "Inside" Information from MPC Members," International Journal of Central Banking, International Journal of Central Banking, vol. 11(4), pages 47-89, December.
    11. Banzhaf, H. Spencer, 2016. "Constructing markets: environmental economics and the contingent valuation controversy," MPRA Paper 78814, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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