NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Tricia Koroknay-Palicz

The World Bank
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NBER Working Papers and Publications

August 2015Measuring the Measurement Error: A Method to Qualitatively Validate Survey Data
with Christopher Blattman, Julian C. Jamison, Katherine Rodrigues, Margaret Sheridan: w21447
Field experiments rely heavily on self-reported data, but subjects may misreport behaviors, especially sensitive ones such as crime. If treatment influences survey responses, it biases experimental estimates. We develop a validation technique that uses intensive qualitative work to assess survey measurement error. Subjects were assigned to receive cash, therapy, both, or neither. According to survey responses, receiving both treatments dramatically reduced crime and other sensitive behaviors. Local researchers spent several days with a random subsample of subjects following their endline surveys, building trust and seeking verbal confirmation of six behaviors: theft, drug use, homelessness, gambling, and two expenditures. This validation suggests that subjects in the control and cash only ...

Published: Blattman, Christopher & Jamison, Julian & Koroknay-Palicz, Tricia & Rodrigues, Katherine & Sheridan, Margaret, 2016. "Measuring the measurement error: A method to qualitatively validate survey data," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 120(C), pages 99-112. citation courtesy of

 
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