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Models for Anchoring and Acquiescence Bias in Consumption Data

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  • Arthur van Soest
  • Michael Hurd

Abstract

Item non-response in household survey data on economic variables such as income, assets or consumption is a well-known problem. Follow-up unfolding bracket questions have been used as a tool to collect partial information on respondents that do not answer an open-ended question. It is also known, however, that mistakes are made in answering such unfolding bracket questions. In this paper, we develop several limited dependent variable models to analyze two sources of mistakes, anchoring and acquiescence (or yeasaying), focusing on the first bracket question. We use the experimental module of the AHEAD 1995 data, where the sample is randomly split into respondents who get an open-ended question on the amount of total family consumption - with follow-up unfolding brackets (of the form: is consumption $X or more?) for those who answer immediately directed to unfolding brackets. In both cases, the entry point of the unfolding bracket sequence is randomized. We compare models in which the probability of a mistake depends on the deviation between the true consumption amount and the entry point amount $X and models in which it does not. We find that allowing for acquiescence bias substantially changes the conclusions on the selective nature of non-response to the open-ended question and on the distribution of consumption expenditures in the population. Once acquiescence bias is taken into account, anchoring in the first bracket question plays only a minor role.

Suggested Citation

  • Arthur van Soest & Michael Hurd, 2004. "Models for Anchoring and Acquiescence Bias in Consumption Data," NBER Working Papers 10461, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:10461 Note: AG
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Martin Browning & Thomas F. Crossley & Guglielmo Weber, 2003. "Asking consumption questions in general purpose surveys," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 113(491), pages 540-567, November.
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    Cited by:

    1. Cobb-Clark, Deborah A. & Stillman, Steven, 2006. "The Retirement Expectations of Middle-Aged Individuals," IZA Discussion Papers 2449, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    2. Essig, Lothar, 2005. "Methodological aspects of the SAVE data set," Papers 05-17, Sonderforschungsbreich 504.
    3. Kristin J. Kleinjans & Jinkook Lee, 2006. "The link between individual expectations and savings: Do nursing home expectations matter?," Economics Working Papers 2006-05, Department of Economics and Business Economics, Aarhus University.
    4. Essig, Lothar, 2004. "Methodological aspects of the SAVE data set," Sonderforschungsbereich 504 Publications 05-17, Sonderforschungsbereich 504, Universität Mannheim;Sonderforschungsbereich 504, University of Mannheim.
    5. repec:eee:touman:v:35:y:2013:i:c:p:222-233 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C81 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Data Collection and Data Estimation Methodology; Computer Programs - - - Methodology for Collecting, Estimating, and Organizing Microeconomic Data; Data Access
    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis

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