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Can subjective questions on economic welfare be trusted ? evidence for three developing countries
Author:Ravallion, Martin; Himelein, Kristen; Beegle, Kathleen; Collection Title:Policy Research working paper ; no. WPS 6726Paper is funded by the Knowledge for Change Program (KCP)
Country:Tajikistan; Guatemala; Tanzania; Date Stored:2013/12/16
Document Date:2013/12/01Document Type:Policy Research Working Paper
SubTopics:Regional Economic Development; Rural Poverty Reduction; Economic Theory & Research; Poverty Lines; BiodiversityLanguage:English
Major Sector:Energy and mining; Health and other social services; Finance; TransportationRel. Proj ID:1W-Lsms Iv: Research For Improving Survey Data -- -- P102013;
Region:Europe and Central Asia; Africa; Latin America & CaribbeanReport Number:WPS6726
Sub Sectors:Microfinance; Other social services; General finance sector; General energy sector; General transportation sectorTF No/Name:TF057207-KCP:; TF092149-PANEL HOUSEHOLD SURVEYS AND AGRICULTURE IN TANZANI; TF099153-Building Capacity for Poverty Statistics in Tanzania
Volume No:1 of 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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