Using Survey Questions to Measure Preferences: Lessons from an Experimental Validation in Kenya

CERGE-EI Working Paper Series No. 653, 2020

32 Pages Posted: 5 Mar 2020

See all articles by Michal Bauer

Michal Bauer

Charles University in Prague - Institute of Economic Studies; CERGE-EI

Julie Chytilová

Charles University in Prague - Department of Economics

Edward Miguel

University of California, Berkeley - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Multiple version iconThere are 3 versions of this paper

Date Written: February 4, 2020

Abstract

Can a short survey instrument reliably measure a range of fundamental economic preferences across diverse settings? We focus on survey questions that systematically predict behavior in incentivized experimental tasks among German university students (Becker et al. 2016) and were implemented among representative samples across the globe (Falk et al. 2018). This paper presents results of an experimental validation conducted among low-income individuals in Nairobi, Kenya. We find that quantitative survey measures - hypothetical versions of experimental tasks - of time preference, attitude to risk and altruism are good predictors of choices in incentivized experiments, suggesting these measures are broadly experimentally valid. At the same time, we find that qualitative questions - self-assessments - do not correlate with the experimental measures of preferences in the Kenyan sample. Thus, caution is needed before treating self-assessments as proxies of preferences in new contexts.

Keywords: preference measurement, experiment, survey, validation

JEL Classification: C83, D90

Suggested Citation

Bauer, Michal and Chytilová, Julie and Miguel, Edward, Using Survey Questions to Measure Preferences: Lessons from an Experimental Validation in Kenya (February 4, 2020). CERGE-EI Working Paper Series No. 653, 2020, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3531690 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3531690

Michal Bauer (Contact Author)

Charles University in Prague - Institute of Economic Studies ( email )

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Julie Chytilová

Charles University in Prague - Department of Economics ( email )

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Czech Republic

HOME PAGE: http://ies.fsv.cuni.cz/index.php?module=kernel&action=user&id_user=130&lng=cs_CZ

Edward Miguel

University of California, Berkeley - Department of Economics ( email )

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Berkeley, CA 94720-3880
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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