The rationale behind the CONSUMPTION EXPERIMENTS comes from the observation that there are large and growing gaps between micro and macro estimates of household consumption. These discrepancies have profound implications for measuring global progress in poverty reduction and the effect of economic growth on that process. Currently it is difficult to reconcile these differences due to the wide variation in methods used to measure household consumption. While macro measures are broadly consistent around the world, under the SNA framework, micro measures of household consumption have no such standardization. Household expenditure surveys vary widely across many dimensions, including: the method of data capture (diary versus recall), the level of respondent (individual versus household), the length of the reference period for which consumption is reported (varying from 3 days, to one week, to one year) and the degree of commodity detail in recall surveys (varying from less than 20 to over 400 items). These variations occur both across countries and also over time as statistical offices alter survey design, with little understanding of the implications of such changes for spatially and temporally consistent measurement of household consumption and poverty. This variation hampers both cross-country studies of poverty and well-being measures as well as measuring poverty trends within country. This experiment implements alternative methods to measure household consumption. The researchers developed eight alternative consumption questionnaires which were randomly distributed across 4,000 households. These eight designs vary by method (3 diaries and 5 recall modules), length of reference period in recall modules, and the number of items in the recall modules. In addition to assessing how the alternative methods affect consumption calculations and household rankings, the evaluation will include a comparison of costs across numerous dimensions: length of field work (in part based on length of interview which will be recorded), coding and data entry inter alia. The study also assesses the sensitivity (robustness) of poverty line calculations where the food poverty is based on calorie assignment of food groups in turn affected by level of disaggregation of food items.
The LABOUR EXPERIMENTS assess the effect of different ways of collecting labour statistics. It uses two different modules, a long module and a short module, and administers each to either the person him/herself or to someone else in the household answering on their behalf (a proxy respondent). Both proxy respondents and self-reporting respondents are sampled randomly from the roster of household members.
The SUBJECTIVE WELFARE EXPERIMENTS use an innovative approach to enhance comparability of subjective welfare questions. The technique, developed in political sciences by Gary King, involves the respondent to provide scaled answers on qualitative questions (on a scale of 1 to 5, how do you feel about....). In order to 'anchor' the response the respondent is given a 'vignette' a short, but powerful story about a fictitious person and is then asked to place this person on the same scale. The placing of the vignette on the same scale allows answers to become more comparable across households, communities and countries. Data were captured electronically through CWEST.
Sampling & Module Assignment
The 7 districts covered in this project were previously surveyed through EDI's CWIQ project, in which a sample of households was drawn to be representative at district level. Data from the 2002 Census was used to put together a list of all villages in the district. In the first stage of the sampling process villages were chosen proportional to their population size. In a second stage the sub-village (kitongoji) was chosen within the village through simple random sampling. In the selected sub-village, or cluster all households were listed. Shwalita makes use of CWIQ's sampling frame to randomly select 24 clusters out of the 30 CWIQ clusters and draw its random sample of households from the CWIQ listing forms. The following table shows the selected districts and is sorted in the order in which they will be visited.
The following 8 modules are randomly assigned to 3 households within each cluster:Consumption Recall and Labour Modules:
Finally, the subjective welfare questionnaire will be administered to 576 households (4 households in each of 24 clusters in each of 6 districts) and will be downloadable from this site soon.
The survey teams will visit 168 communities. In each community the nearby shops, stalls and markets will be visited to collect local price data (download price questionnaire). Additionally, a structured community questionnaire will be administered to key informants in each community (download English - download Swahili). The community questionnaire contains a price opinion section as an alternative way to collect prices. For a good discussion on various price collection mechanisms in surveys see Gibson and Rozelle's WBER article.
EDI began piloting questionnaires and training interviewers from June 2007 onwards. Fieldwork started beginning of September 2007 and is expected to last till end of June 2008. In order to keep tight control implementation, the fieldwork is conducted by a relatively small number of 12 interviewers and spread over a longer time period. Such a set-up avoids the typical co-ordination problems faced by larger-scale fast-moving set-ups and allows for maximum control from the project management and co-ordination team. Ultimately it seems like a necessary condition to achieve an acceptable level of non-sampling error.
This assignment is being executed by the following members of staff at EDI:
Bardasi, E., K. Beegle, A. Dillon, and P. Serneels (2010) “Do Labor Statistics Depend on How and to Whom the Questions are Asked? Results from a Survey Experiment in Tanzania” World Bank Policy Research Working Paper 5192, World Bank, Washington DC.
Dillon, Andrew & Bardasi, Elena & Beegle, Kathleen & Serneels, Pieter. 2012. Explaining Variation
Beegle, Kathleen, Joachim De Weerdt, Jed Friedman and John Gibson "Methods of Household Consumption Measurement through Surveys: Experimental Results from Tanzania", Journal of Development Economics 98:3-18
Gibson, John, Kathleen Beegle, Joachim De Weerdt and Jed Friedman. 2013. What Does Variation in Household Survey Methods Reveal About the Nature of Measurement Errors in Consumption Estimates? World Bank Policy Research Working paper No. 6372
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