Are You Being Asked? Impacts of Respondent Selection on Measuring Employment

35 Pages Posted: 20 Feb 2020 Last revised: 21 May 2020

See all articles by Talip Kilic

Talip Kilic

World Bank - Development Data Group (DECDG)

Gayatri B. Koolwal

World Bank

Heather G. Moylan

World Bank

Date Written: February 18, 2020

Abstract

Accurate estimates of men's and women's employment are at the heart of understanding sources of productivity and economic growth and designing well-targeted, gender-sensitive labor policies. How respondent selection in household and labor force surveys affects these estimates is a key question, for which experimental evidence outside of high-income settings is limited. Leveraging two concurrent, national surveys in Malawi that differed in their approach to respondent selection, the analysis shows that compared to the best practice of privately interviewing adults about their employment outcomes, the common "business-as-usual" approach that permits the use of proxy respondents and non-private/group interviews leads to significant underreporting of employment across a range of wage- and self-employment activities, with stronger effects for women and for a longer (12-month) recall period. Under the business-as-usual approach, the main factors linked to under-reporting include household wealth, proxy reporting, and potential difficulties associated with interpreting/answering on questions regarding household non-farm enterprises.

Keywords: Wages, Compensation & Benefits, Food Security, Livestock and Animal Husbandry, Gender and Development, Climate Change and Agriculture, Crops and Crop Management Systems

Suggested Citation

Kilic, Talip and Koolwal, Gayatri B. and Moylan, Heather G., Are You Being Asked? Impacts of Respondent Selection on Measuring Employment (February 18, 2020). World Bank Policy Research Working Paper No. 9152, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3540980

Talip Kilic (Contact Author)

World Bank - Development Data Group (DECDG) ( email )

Via Labicana 110
Rome, Lazio 00184
Italy

Gayatri B. Koolwal

World Bank ( email )

1818 H Street, NW
Washington, DC 20433
United States

Heather G. Moylan

World Bank ( email )

1818 H Street, NW
Washington, DC 20433
United States

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