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Measuring aspirations: discussion and example from Ethiopia:

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  • Bernard, Tanguy
  • Taffesse, Alemayehu Seyoum

Abstract

Individuals’ aspirations and their consequences for future-oriented behavior have received increased attention in devel-opment economics literature in recent years. At this stage, however, each study relies on ad hoc empirical instruments to measure aspirations, thereby limiting comparability of the results obtained. This paper proposes a simple measurement instrument that spans several dimensions aggregated via individual-specific weights. We use a purposefully collected data set to test for the usability, reliability, and validity of the instrument. In addition to standard test-retest procedures, our innovation lies in the use of several randomized tests introduced within the questionnaires themselves, in the enumerators’ qualifications, and in the information set available to respondents. Overall results show strong support for the proposed instrument, with the caveat that collection of such attitudinal data requires experienced enumerators capable of adequately probing respondents.
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Suggested Citation

  • Bernard, Tanguy & Taffesse, Alemayehu Seyoum, 2012. "Measuring aspirations: discussion and example from Ethiopia:," IFPRI discussion papers 1190, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  • Handle: RePEc:fpr:ifprid:1190
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    File URL: http://www.ifpri.org/sites/default/files/publications/ifpridp01190.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Stutzer, Alois, 2004. "The role of income aspirations in individual happiness," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 54(1), pages 89-109, May.
    2. Bernard, Tanguy & Dercon, Stefan & Taffesse, Alemayehu Seyoum, 2011. "Beyond fatalism: An empirical exploration of self-efficacy and aspirations failure in Ethiopia," IFPRI discussion papers 1101, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    3. Hausmann, Ricardo & Rodrik, Dani, 2003. "Economic development as self-discovery," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(2), pages 603-633, December.
    4. Knight, John & Gunatilaka, Ramani, 2012. "Income, aspirations and the Hedonic Treadmill in a poor society," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 82(1), pages 67-81.
    5. Delavande, Adeline & Giné, Xavier & McKenzie, David, 2011. "Measuring subjective expectations in developing countries: A critical review and new evidence," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(2), pages 151-163, March.
    6. Macours, Karen & Vakis, Renos, 2009. "Changing households'investments and aspirations through social interactions : evidence from a randomized transfer program," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5137, The World Bank.
    7. Sendhil Mullainathan & Marianne Bertrand, 2001. "Do People Mean What They Say? Implications for Subjective Survey Data," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(2), pages 67-72, May.
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    Cited by:

    1. Pasquier-Doumer, Laure & Risso Brandon, Fiorella, 2015. "Aspiration Failure: A Poverty Trap for Indigenous Children in Peru?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 72(C), pages 208-223.
    2. repec:dau:papers:123456789/12016 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Kosec, Katrina & Hameed, Madeeha & Hausladen, Stephanie, 2012. "Aspirations in rural Pakistan: An empirical analysis," PSSP working papers 9, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    4. repec:eee:wdevel:v:97:y:2017:i:c:p:49-66 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Rocío Moreno-Sánchez & Vanesa Martínez & Jorge H. Maldonado & Arturo Rodríguez, 2017. "Cambios en bienestar subjetivo, aspiraciones y expectativas en participantes de programas de alivio a la pobreza: un análisis cualitativo de Produciendo por mi futuro en Colombia," DOCUMENTOS CEDE 015818, UNIVERSIDAD DE LOS ANDES-CEDE.
    6. Kosec, Katrina & Mo, Cecilia Hyunjung, 2017. "Aspirations and the Role of Social Protection: Evidence from a Natural Disaster in Rural Pakistan," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 97(C), pages 49-66.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Poverty; Surveys Methodology; Sampling; microeconomic analysis; microeconomic behavior;

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