Decomposing Response Errors in Food Consumption Measurement: Implications for Survey Design from a Survey Experiment in Tanzania

36 Pages Posted: 20 Apr 2016

See all articles by Jed Friedman

Jed Friedman

World Bank - Development Research Group (DECRG); World Bank Group

Kathleen Beegle

World Bank - Development Research Group (DECRG)

Joachim De Weerdt

University of Antwerp - Institute of Development Policy and Management; KU Leuven - Centre for Institutions and Economic Performance (LICOS); Economic Development Initiatives (EDI)

John Gibson

University of Waikato; Motu Economic and Public Policy Research

Date Written: April 19, 2016

Abstract

There is wide variation in how consumption is measured in household surveys both across countries and over time. This variation may confound welfare comparisons in part because these alternative survey designs produce consumption estimates that are differentially influenced by contrasting types of survey response error. Although previous studies have documented the extent of net error in alternative survey designs, little is known about the relative influence of the different response errors that underpin a survey estimate. This study leverages a recent randomized food consumption survey experiment in Tanzania to shed light on the relative influence of these various error types. The observed deviation of measured household consumption from a benchmark is decomposed into item-specific consumption incidence and consumption value so as to investigate effects related to (a) the omission of any consumption and then (b) the error in value reporting conditional on positive consumption. The results show that various survey designs exhibit widely differing error decompositions, and hence a simple summary comparison of the total recorded consumption across surveys will obscure specific error patterns and inhibit the lessons for improved consumption survey design. In light of these findings, the relative performance of common survey designs is discussed, and design lessons are drawn to enhance the accuracy of item-specific consumption reporting and, consequently, the measures of total household food consumption.

Keywords: Inequality

Suggested Citation

Friedman, Jed Arnold and Beegle, Kathleen and De Weerdt, Joachim and Gibson, John, Decomposing Response Errors in Food Consumption Measurement: Implications for Survey Design from a Survey Experiment in Tanzania (April 19, 2016). World Bank Policy Research Working Paper No. 7646. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2767251

Jed Arnold Friedman (Contact Author)

World Bank - Development Research Group (DECRG)

1818 H. Street, N.W.
MSN3-311
Washington, DC 20433
United States

World Bank Group ( email )

1818 H Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20433
United States

Kathleen Beegle

World Bank - Development Research Group (DECRG) ( email )

1818 H. Street, N.W.
MSN3-311
Washington, DC 20433
United States

HOME PAGE: http://econ.worldbank.org/staff/kbeegle

Joachim De Weerdt

University of Antwerp - Institute of Development Policy and Management ( email )

City campus building S
Lange Sint Annastraat 7
Antwerp, 2000
Belgium

KU Leuven - Centre for Institutions and Economic Performance (LICOS) ( email )

Waaistraat 6 - box 3511
Leuven, 3000
Belgium

Economic Development Initiatives (EDI) ( email )

P.O. Box 393
Bukoba
Tanzania

HOME PAGE: http://www.edi-africa.com

John Gibson

University of Waikato ( email )

Te Raupapa
Private Bag 3105
Hamilton, 3240
New Zealand

Motu Economic and Public Policy Research

19 Milne Terrace
Island Bay
Wellington, 6002
New Zealand

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