Gibson, J. & Kim, B. (2007). Measurement error in long-term retrospective recall surveys of earnings. (Department of Economics Working Paper Series, Number 3/07). Hamilton, New Zealand: University of Waikato.
Permanent Research Commons link: https://hdl.handle.net/10289/1622
Several recent studies in labour and population economics use retrospective surveys to substitute for the high cost and limited availability of longitudinal survey data. Although a single interview can obtain a lifetime history, inaccurate long-term recall could make such retrospective surveys a poor substitute for longitudinal surveys, especially if it induces non-classical error that makes conventional statistical corrections less effective. In this paper, we use the unique Panel Study of Income Dynamics Validation Study to assess the accuracy of long-term recall data. We find underreporting of transitory events. This recall error creates a non-classical measurement error problem. A limited cost-benefit analysis is also conducted, showing how savings from using a cheaper retrospective recall survey might be compared with the cost of applying the less accurate recall data to a specific policy objective such as designing transfers to reduce chronic poverty.
Waikato Management School
- Management Papers