Deception and Misreporting in a Social Program
We investigate empirically the extent of misreporting in a poverty-alleviation program in which self-reported information, followed by a household visit, is used to determine eligibility. Underreporting may be due to a deception motive, and overreporting to an embarrassment motive. We find that underreporting of goods and desirable home characteristics is widespread, and that overreporting is common with respect to goods linked to social status. Larger program benefits encourage underreporting and discourage overreporting. The effect of benefits on underreporting is significant under a variety of specifications. We also investigate the effects of education and gender on misreporting.
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