NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
loading...

Measurement Error Mechanisms Matter: Agricultural Intensification with Farmer Misperceptions and Misreporting

Kibrom A. Abay, Leah Bevis, Christopher B. Barrett

NBER Working Paper No. 26066
Issued in July 2019
NBER Program(s):Development Economics Program

The mechanism(s) that generate measurement error matter to inference. Survey measurement error is typically thought to represent simple misreporting correctable through improved measurement. But errors might also or alternatively reflect respondent misperceptions that materially affect the respondent decisions under study. We show analytically that these alternate data generating processes imply different appropriate regression specifications and have distinct effects on the bias in parameter estimates. We introduce a simple empirical technique to generate unbiased estimates under more general conditions and to apportion measurement error between misreporting and misperceptions in measurement error when one has both self-reported and objectively-measured observations of the same explanatory variable. We then apply these techniques to the longstanding question of agricultural intensification: do farmers increase input application rates per unit area as the size of the plots they cultivate decreases? Using nationally representative data from four sub-Saharan African countries, we find strong evidence that measurement error in plot size reflects a mixture of farmer misreporting and misperceptions. The results matter to inference around the intensification hypothesis and call into question whether more objective, precise measures are always preferable when estimating behavioral parameters.

You may purchase this paper on-line in .pdf format from SSRN.com ($5) for electronic delivery.

Access to NBER Papers

You are eligible for a free download if you are a subscriber, a corporate associate of the NBER, a journalist, an employee of the U.S. federal government with a ".GOV" domain name, or a resident of nearly any developing country or transition economy.

If you usually get free papers at work/university but do not at home, you can either connect to your work VPN or proxy (if any) or elect to have a link to the paper emailed to your work email address below. The email address must be connected to a subscribing college, university, or other subscribing institution. Gmail and other free email addresses will not have access.

E-mail:

Machine-readable bibliographic record - MARC, RIS, BibTeX

Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w26066

 
Publications
Activities
Meetings
NBER Videos
Themes
Data
People
About

National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138; 617-868-3900; email: info@nber.org

Contact Us