A Test for Anchoring and Yea-Saying in Experimental Consumption Data

Published In: Journal of the American Statistical Association, v 103, no. 481, Mar. 2008, p. 126-136

Posted on RAND.org on January 01, 2008

by Arthur Van Soest, Michael D. Hurd

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The authors analyze experimental survey data, with a random split into respondents who get an open-ended question on the amount of total family consumption (with follow-up unfolding brackets of the form Is consumption $X or more? for those who answer don't know or refuse) and respondents who are immediately directed to unfolding brackets. In both cases, the entry point of the unfolding bracket sequence is randomized. Allowing for any type of selection into answering the open-ended or bracket questions, a nonparametric test is developed for errors in the answers to the first bracket question that are different from the usual reporting errors that will also affect open-ended answers. Two types of errors are considered explicitly: anchoring and yea-saying. Data are collected in the 1995 wave of the Assets and Health Dynamics survey, which is representative of the population in the United States that is 70 years and older. The authors reject the joint hypothesis of no anchoring and no yea-saying. Once yea-saying is taken into account, we find no evidence of anchoring at the entry point.

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