Measuring Household Usage of Financial Services: Does it Matter How or Whom You Ask?
World Bank - Development Research Group (DECRG)
September 1, 2009
World Bank Policy Research Working Paper No. 5048
In recent years, the number of surveys of access to and use of financial services has multiplied, but little is known about whether the data generated are comparable across countries, or within the same country over time. This paper reports results from a randomized experiment in Ghana to test whether the identity of the respondent and the inclusion of product-specific cues in questions affect the reported rates of household usage of financial services. The analysis shows that rates of household usage are almost identical when the head reports on behalf of the household and when the rate is tabulated from a full enumeration of household use. Randomly selected informants (i.e., non-heads of the household) provide a less complete summary of household use of financial services than the other two methods. The findings also show that for credit from formal institutions, informal sources of savings, and insurance, usage rates are higher when questions are asked about specific financial products rather than about the respondents dealings with types of financial institutions. In short, who is asked the questions and the form in which they are asked both matter.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 57
Keywords: Access to Finance, Banks & Banking Reform, Housing & Human Habitats, Emerging Markets
Date posted: September 22, 2009
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