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Eliciting Subjective Expectations in Internet Surveys

  • Adeline Delavande
  • Susann Rohwedder

Individuals' subjective expectations are important in explaining heterogeneity in individual choices, but their elicitation poses challenges. In this paper, the authors present their findings from testing an innovative visual representation of an Internet survey in the context of individuals' Social Security expectations. Respondents were randomly divided into two groups: Half were administered the standard "percent chance" format; half were asked to allocate a total of 20 balls across seven bins to express what they believe the chances to be that their future Social Security benefits would fall into any one of those bins. The authors found that the main advantage of the visual format is that it generates usable answers for virtually all respondents. This suggests that the visual format is a viable alternative that leads to more complete data.

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File URL: http://www.rand.org/content/dam/rand/pubs/working_papers/2008/RAND_WR589.pdf
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Paper provided by RAND Corporation Publications Department in its series Working Papers with number 589.

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Length: 45 pages
Date of creation: Jun 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ran:wpaper:589
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  1. Jeff Dominitz & Charles F. Manski, 2004. "How Should We Measure Consumer Confidence?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 18(2), pages 51-66, Spring.
  2. Delavande, Adeline, 2005. "Pill, Patch or Shot? Subjective Expectations and Birth Control Choice," CEPR Discussion Papers 4856, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Li Gan & Guan Gong & Michael Hurd & Daniel McFadden, 2004. "Subjective Mortality Risk and Bequests," NBER Working Papers 10789, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Jeff Dominitz & Charles F. Manski, 2007. "Expected Equity Returns and Portfolio Choice: Evidence from the Health and Retirement Study," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 5(2-3), pages 369-379, 04-05.
  5. Charles F. Manski, 2004. "Measuring Expectations," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 72(5), pages 1329-1376, 09.
  6. Michael D. Hurd & Kathleen McGarry, 2002. "The Predictive Validity of Subjective Probabilities of Survival," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(482), pages 966-985, October.
  7. Adeline Delavande & Robert Willis, 2007. "Managing the Risk of Life," Working Papers wp167, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
  8. Jeff Dominitz & Charles F. Manski, 1994. "Using Expectations Data to Study Subjective Income Expectations," Econometrics 9411003, EconWPA.
  9. Jeff Dominitz, 1998. "Earnings Expectations, Revisions, And Realizations," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 80(3), pages 374-388, August.
  10. Jeff Dominitz & Charles F. Manski, 2006. "Measuring Pension-benefit Expectations Probabilistically," LABOUR, CEIS, vol. 20(2), pages 201-236, 06.
  11. Lee Lillard & Robert J. Willis, 2001. "Cognition and Wealth: The Importance of Probabilistic Thinking," Working Papers wp007, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
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