Being surveyed can change later behavior and related parameter estimates

Alix Peterson Zwane, Jonathan Zinman*, Eric Van Dusen, William Pariente, Clair Null, Edward Miguel, Michael Kremer, Dean S. Karlan, Richard Hornbeck, Xavier Giné, Esther Duflo, Florencia Devoto, Bruno Crepon, Abhijit Banerjee

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

124 Scopus citations

Abstract

Does completing a household survey change the later behavior of those surveyed? In three field studies of health and two of microlending, werandomly assigned subjects to be surveyedabout health and/or household finances and then measured subsequent use of a related product with data that does not rely on subjects' self-reports. In the three health experiments, we find that being surveyed increases use of water treatment products and take-up of medical insurance. Frequent surveys on reported diarrhea also led to biased estimates of the impact of improved source water quality. In two microlending studies, we do not find an effect of being surveyed on borrowing behavior. The results suggest that limited attention could play an important but context-dependent role in consumer choice, with the implication that researchers should reconsider whether, how, and how much to survey their subjects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1821-1826
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Volume108
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1 2011

Keywords

  • Hawthorne effects
  • Measurement effects
  • Models of attention
  • Question-behavior effects
  • Survey methodology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Being surveyed can change later behavior and related parameter estimates'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this