The Accuracy of Retrospective Data from the Malaysian Family Life Survey

by John Haaga


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This Note assesses the accuracy of retrospective data on fertility, contraceptive use, birthweight of children, infant and fetal mortality, breastfeeding, education, and housing, covering several decades, reported in a multi-round household survey of Malaysian women. Checks of internal consistency, external validity, and re-test reliability are used. Fertility, mortality, and education data appear to be highly accurate. Digit preference in reported durations is evident. Respondent characteristics (ethnicity, education, and urban residence) are, surprisingly, much more important determinants of accuracy than the length of the recall period.

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