Jump straight to publications based on this project

SHWALITA - probably the most exotic name that has ever been conjured up for an EDI research project - is short for 'Survey of Household Welfare and Labour in Tanzania'. It is a unique experiment in survey design that Joachim De Weerdt and his team at EDI conducted on behalf of the University of Dar es Salaam and the World Bank. The project was developed by the Living Standards Measurement Study (LSMS) Team in the World Bank in collaboration with the University of Dar es Salaam and EDI. The survey experiment is an important component of the LSMS' multi-year research agenda in survey methodology (LSMS Phase IV). The consumption experiments in the survey benefited from substantial inputs from John Gibson at the Waikato Management School, Adolf Mkenda at the University of Dar es Salaam, Jed Friedman and Peter Lanjouw from the World Bank; the labor experiments from the inputs of Elena Bardasi from the World Bank and Andrew Dillon from IFPRI; and the subjective welfare experiment from inputs by and Adelbertus Kamanzi from Uganda Martyrs' University. Kathleen Beegle of the LSMS team is task manager of the project. Other members of the LSMS team include Kinnon Scott, Calogero Carletto, Diane Steele and Kristen Himelein.

This 4,000 household survey randomly assigns 8 slightly different survey modules to its respondents. The survey modules reproduce 8 different ways in which research projects across the globe have aimed at measuring households' welfare. In addition, the instruments aim at validating the way labour allocation and subjective welfare can be measured. By randomly assigning households to certain modules, the goal is to highlight differences in outcomes that are purely related to the research design, but do not reflect 'real' differences.

This survey consists of 3 separate experiments, carefully bundled into one survey: (i) consumption experiments (ii) labour module experiments (iii) subjective welfare experiments, conducted electronically on CWEST.

On this page you will first find publications made on this dataset and then some more detailed explanations of each of SHWALITA's components, its sample and cluster locations.


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.


region urban/rural adult literacy rate according to CWIQ Available CWIQ documents
Bukoba Rural Kagera
report - brief ENG - brief SWA
Karagwe Kagera
report - brief ENG - brief SWA
Bukombe Shinyanga
report - brief ENG - brief SWA
Bariadi Shinyanga
Rufiji Pwani
report - brief ENG - brief SWA
Temeke Dar es Salaam
report - brief ENG - brief SWA
Dodoma Urban Dodoma

The following 8 modules are randomly assigned to 3 households within each cluster:

Consumption Recall and Labour Modules:
module No. type of labour module recall length in consumption module type of item list in consumption module total sample size
(24 clusters in each of 7 districts)
downloads questionnaires
1 short labour module with reporting by proxy respondent

14 days

long item list 504 obs.
(1/3 without labour module)
2 short labour module with members self-reporting

7 days

long item list 504 obs.
(1/3 without labour module)
3 long labour module with reporting by proxy respondent

7 days

short subset of long list 504 obs.
(1/3 without labour module)
4 long labour module with members self-reporting 7 days short collapsed list (aggregation of items from long list) 504 obs.
(1/3 without labour module)
5 NONE 1 month


long item list 504 obs. ENGLISH - SWAHILI


Module No. level at which administered diary period frequency of visits by interviewer frequency of visits by locally recruited assistant

total sample size
(24 clusters in each of 7 districts)

6 individual 14 days frequent visits:
all individuals on days 1-3-5-8-10-12-15
every day 504 ENGLISH - SWAHILI
7 household 14 days frequent visits:
all households on days 1-3-5-8-10-12-15
every day 504 ENGLISH - SWAHILI
8 household 14 days infrequent visits:
Literate households: days 1-8-15.
Illiterate households days 1-3-5-8-10-12-15
no visits 504 ENGLISH - SWAHILI
Download diary household questionnaire (administered during first and last vist): ENGLISH - SWAHILI

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:
Project Direction: Joachim De Weerdt
Management and Co-ordination: Respichius Mitti and Abida Nungu
Field Supervision: George Musikula, Davis Matovu, Josephine Rugomora and Pius Sosthenes
Enumeration: Abbanove Gabba, Aissa Issa, Faustine Misinde, Felix Kapinga, Geofrey Bakari, Honoratha Wyclife, Jamary Idrisa, Jesca Nkonjelwa, Kamugisha Robert, Makarius Kiyonga, Resty Simon, Hildephonce Muhashani
Data Entry Co-ordination: Thadeus Rweyemamu
Data Entry Operation: George Gabriel, Justina Katoke, Amina Suedi, Frida George

Publications resulting from this project:

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.
Go to download site

Dillon, Andrew & Bardasi, Elena & Beegle, Kathleen & Serneels, Pieter. 2012. Explaining Variation
in Child Labor Statistics. Journal of Development Economics, 98 (1): 136-147.


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


De Weerdt, J., Beegle, K., Friedman, J. and Gibson, J. 2013. The Challenge of Measuring Hunger.