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Can subjective questions on economic welfare be trusted ? evidence for three developing countries, Volume 1
Author:Ravallion, Martin; Himelein, Kristen; Beegle, Kathleen; Country:Tajikistan; Guatemala; Tanzania;
Date Stored:2013/12/16Document Date:2013/12/01
Document Type:Policy Research Working PaperSubTopics:Regional Economic Development; Rural Poverty Reduction; Economic Theory & Research; Poverty Lines; Biodiversity
Language:EnglishMajor Sector:Energy and mining; Health and other social services; Finance; Transportation
Rel. Proj ID:1W-Lsms Iv: Research For Improving Survey Data -- -- P102013;Region:Europe and Central Asia; Africa; Latin America & Caribbean
Report Number:WPS6726Sub Sectors:Microfinance; Other social services; General finance sector; General energy sector; General transportation sector
Collection Title:Policy Research working paper ; no. WPS 6726Paper is funded by the Knowledge for Change Program (KCP)TF No/Name:TF057207-KCP:; TF092149-PANEL HOUSEHOLD SURVEYS AND AGRICULTURE IN TANZANI; TF099153-Building Capacity for Poverty Statistics in Tanzania
Volume No:1  

Summary: While self-assessments of welfare have become popular for measuring poverty and estimating welfare effects, the methods can be deceptive given systematic heterogeneity in respondents' scales. Little is known about this problem. This study uses specially-designed surveys in three countries, Tajikistan, Guatemala, and Tanzania, to study scale heterogeneity. Respondents were asked to score stylized vignettes, as well as their own household. Diverse scales are in evidence, casting considerable doubt on the meaning of widely-used summary measures such as subjective poverty rates. Nonetheless, under the identifying assumptions of the study, only small biases are induced in the coefficients on widely-used regressors for subjective poverty and welfare.

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