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Optimal recall period length in consumer payment surveys

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  • Hitczenko, Marcin

    () (Federal Reserve Bank of Boston)

Abstract

Surveys in many academic fields ask respondents to recall the number of events that occurred over a specific period of time with the goal of learning about the mean frequency of these events among the population. Research has shown that the choice of the recall period, particularly the length, affects the results by influencing the cognitive recall process. We combine experimental recall data with use data to learn about this relationship in the context of consumer payments, specifically for the mean frequency of use of the four most popular payment instruments (cash, credit card, debit card, check). Overall, our analysis suggests that day-based recall is inefficient, with mean-squared errors of population estimates minimized for longer recall periods, although the optimal recall period differs among payment instruments. In addition, for cash, we develop a model relating recalled values to individual frequency of use in order to study the relationship between demographic variables and accuracy at different recall lengths. We find little link between demographic characteristics and accuracy of different recall periods for an individual.

Suggested Citation

  • Hitczenko, Marcin, 2013. "Optimal recall period length in consumer payment surveys," Working Papers 13-16, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedbwp:13-16
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    File URL: http://www.bostonfed.org/economic/wp/wp2013/wp1316.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Michael Hurd & Susann Rohwedder, 2009. "Methodological Innovations in Collecting Spending Data: The HRS Consumption and Activities Mail Survey," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, pages 435-459.
    2. Marco Angrisani & Arie Kapteyn & Scott Schuh, 2014. "Measuring Household Spending and Payment Habits: The Role of "Typical" and "Specific" Time Frames in Survey Questions," NBER Chapters,in: Improving the Measurement of Consumer Expenditures, pages 414-440 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Kevin Foster & Erik Meijer & Scott Schuh & Michael A. Zabek, 2011. "The 2009 survey of consumer payment choice," Public Policy Discussion Paper 11-1, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
    4. Clarke, Philip M. & Fiebig, Denzil G. & Gerdtham, Ulf-G., 2008. "Optimal recall length in survey design," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(5), pages 1275-1284, September.
    5. Naeem Ahmed & Matthew Brzozowski & Thomas Crossley, 2006. "Measurement errors in recall food consumption data," IFS Working Papers W06/21, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Angrisani, Marco & Foster, Kevin & Hitczenko, Marcin, 2015. "The 2013 Survey of Consumer Payment Choice: technical appendix," Research Data Report 15-5, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
    2. Greene, Claire & O'Brien, Shaun & Schuh, Scott, 2017. "U. S. consumer cash use, 2012 and 2015: an introduction to the Diary of Consumer Payment Choice," Research Data Report 17-6, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
    3. Angrisani, Marco & Foster, Kevin & Hitczenko, Marcin, 2014. "The 2011 and 2012 Surveys of Consumer Payment Choice: technical appendix," Research Data Report 14-2, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
    4. Greene, Claire & Schuh, Scott & Stavins, Joanna, 2018. "The 2012 diary of consumer payment choice," Research Data Report 18-1, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    consumer payments; stochastic recall models; survey design; mean-squared error; bias;

    JEL classification:

    • C83 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Data Collection and Data Estimation Methodology; Computer Programs - - - Survey Methods; Sampling Methods

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