Sources of Bias in the Recall of Self-Generated Data: The Role of Anchoring

17 Pages Posted: 24 May 2007

See all articles by Stuart Fraser

Stuart Fraser

University of Warwick Business School

Francis J. Greene

University of Warwick - Warwick Business School

Kevin F. Mole

University of Warwick - Warwick Business School

Abstract

This study examines two issues. First, we assess the reliability of employment data self-generated by respondents using a survey panel of 280 firms surveyed in 1999 and again in 2002. Our results show that there is a close correlation between self-generated and archival secondary data. Second, we test for bias in the recall of previous years' employment levels and the sources of such bias. We assess three reasons for recall bias: respondent-level factors; firm-level factors; and anchoring. Our regression results indicate that: owners and new respondents; those in firms that changed legal status and/or location; those in smaller firms; and those in growing or declining firms were biased in their recall of prior employment. In addition, growing firms tended to underestimate their growth, which points to anchoring as an explanation for these biases. These biases imply that we have to be careful in delineating performance measures and cautious about how we interpret self-generated managerial information.

Suggested Citation

Fraser, Stuart and Greene, Francis J. and Mole, Kevin F., Sources of Bias in the Recall of Self-Generated Data: The Role of Anchoring. British Journal of Management, Vol. 18, No. 2, pp. 192-208, June 2007. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=987387 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-8551.2006.00510.x

Stuart Fraser

University of Warwick Business School ( email )

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Francis J. Greene (Contact Author)

University of Warwick - Warwick Business School ( email )

Coventry CV4 7AL
United Kingdom

Kevin F. Mole

University of Warwick - Warwick Business School ( email )

Coventry CV4 7AL
United Kingdom

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