Slipping Anchor? Testing the Vignettes Approach to Identification and Correction of Reporting Heterogeneity

46 Pages Posted: 22 Mar 2010

See all articles by Teresa Bago d'Uva

Teresa Bago d'Uva

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) - Faculty of Economics; Tinbergen Institute

Maarten Lindeboom

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam; Tinbergen Institute Amsterdam; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

O. O'Donnell

University of Macedonia

Eddy van Doorslaer

Erasmus School of Economics

Date Written: November 3, 2009

Abstract

Anchoring vignettes are increasingly used to identify and correct heterogeneity in the reporting of health, work disability, life satisfaction, political efficacy, etc. with the aim of improving interpersonal comparability of subjective indicators of these constructs. The method relies on two assumptions: vignette equivalence – the vignette description is perceived by all to correspond to the same state; and, response consistency - individuals use the same response scales to rate the vignettes and their own situation. We propose tests of these assumptions. For vignette equivalence, we test a necessary condition of no systematic variation with observed characteristics in the perceived difference in states corresponding to any two vignettes. To test response consistency we rely on the assumption that objective indicators fully capture the covariation between the construct of interest and observed individual characteristics, and so offer an alternative way to identify response scales, which can then be compared with those identified from the vignettes. We also introduce a weaker test that is valid under a less stringent assumption. We apply these tests to cognitive functioning and mobility related health problems using data from the English Longitudinal Survey of Ageing. Response consistency is rejected for both health domains according to the first test, but the weaker test does not reject for cognitive functioning. The necessary condition for vignette equivalence is rejected for both health domains.These results cast some doubt on the validity of the vignettes approach, at least as applied to these health domains.

Keywords: reporting heterogeneity, survey methods, vignettes, health, cognition

JEL Classification: C35, C42, I12

Suggested Citation

Bago d'Uva, Teresa and Lindeboom, Maarten and O'Donnell, O. and van Doorslaer, Eddy, Slipping Anchor? Testing the Vignettes Approach to Identification and Correction of Reporting Heterogeneity (November 3, 2009). Netspar Discussion Paper No. 11/2009-038. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1572319 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1572319

Teresa Bago d'Uva (Contact Author)

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) - Faculty of Economics ( email )

Burgemeester Oudlaan 50
3000 DR Rotterdam, Zuid-Holland 3062PA
Netherlands

Tinbergen Institute ( email )

Burg. Oudlaan 50
Rotterdam, 3062 PA
Netherlands

Maarten Lindeboom

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam ( email )

De Boelelaan 1105
1081 HV Amsterdam
Netherlands
+31 20 444 6033 (Phone)
+31 20 444 6020 (Fax)

Tinbergen Institute Amsterdam

Gustav Mahlerplein 117
Amsterdam, 1082 MS
Netherlands

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

O. O'Donnell

University of Macedonia

156 Egnatia St.
P.O. 1591
Thessaloniki, 54006
Greece

Eddy Van Doorslaer

Erasmus School of Economics ( email )

Netherlands

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