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Asking Retrospective Questions in Household Surveys: Evidence from Vietnam

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  • NAKATA Hiroyuki
  • SAWADA Yasuyuki
  • TANAKA Mari

Abstract

Asking retrospective questions about consumption and income has become an important part of household surveys and research in developing countries. While recall errors in retrospective data may generate estimation biases, the nature and the magnitude of the errors are largely unknown, especially in the context of developing countries. To fill this gap in the existing studies, we collect unique household data from Vietnam, a resurvey of respondents of the Vietnam Health and Living Standard Survey (VHLSS) 2006. This combined data allows us to investigate a variety of errors associated with recall surveys and the size of consumption categories in questionnaires. Our empirical results suggest that asking for total expenditure, rather than categorical expenditure, will cause fewer recall errors in a retrospective survey. This is especially true in the case of purchased or bartered consumption expenditure. Our results also suggest that while recall errors in the categorical sum of expenditure may exhibit mean-reverting patterns, retrospective total expenditure data is less likely to involve problems of mean reverting measurement error.

Suggested Citation

  • NAKATA Hiroyuki & SAWADA Yasuyuki & TANAKA Mari, 2010. "Asking Retrospective Questions in Household Surveys: Evidence from Vietnam," Discussion papers 10008, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI).
  • Handle: RePEc:eti:dpaper:10008
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    File URL: https://www.rieti.go.jp/jp/publications/dp/10e008.pdf
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    1. José Moraga-González & Noemi Padrón-Fumero, 2002. "Environmental Policy in a Green Market," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 22(3), pages 419-447, July.
    2. Markusen, James R. & Morey, Edward R. & Olewiler, Nancy, 1995. "Competition in regional environmental policies when plant locations are endogenous," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(1), pages 55-77, January.
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    Cited by:

    1. Niño-Zarazúa, Miguel & Chiripanhura, Blessing, 2013. "The impacts of the food, fuel and financial crises on households in Nigeria. A retrospective approach for research enquiry," MPRA Paper 47348, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Sawada, Yasuyuki & Nakata, Hiroyuki & Kotera, Tomoaki, 2017. "Self-Production, Friction, and Risk Sharing against Disasters: Evidence from a Developing Country," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 94(C), pages 27-37.

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