UC Davis Agricultural and Resource Economics

Jennifer Alix-Garcia, Oregon State University

Better to be indirect? Testing the accuracy and cost-savings of indirect surveys for poverty targeting

Date and Location

Wednesday, November 20, 2019, 3:40 PM - 5:00 PM
ARE Library Conference Room, 4101 Social Sciences and Humanities


We test the validity of indirect surveying as a method to collect household data. We compare household and informant reports of assets, develop poverty indices from both, and examine errors in reporting and targeting resulting from using indirectly reported variables. Informant-based targeting indices are highly correlated with household measures, do not vary systematically across informant characteristics, and can be used to assign a simulated anti-poverty program with similar error rates to related methods. Informant indices can be reasonable substitutes for self-reported indices in simple regressions. In our setting, eliminating direct household surveys would have reduced survey costs by 50%.

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