Husbands and Wives as Survey Respondents

Reports on Household Experiences During a Recession

by S. Crocker

Purchase Print Copy

 FormatList Price Price
Add to Cart Paperback68 pages $25.00 $20.00 20% Web Discount

Reviews the literature of survey response error and husbands/wives as respondents and tests the findings against RAND's Seattle recession survey data (R-1352). Unlike previous studies, RAND found (1) practically no difference between spouses in response patterns on financial adjustments and work history; (2) practically no difference in response consistency between reports by actors and other informants; (3) little difference by wife's employment status; or (4) little difference by similarity of spouses' educational level. Confirming earlier work: (1) response consistency depends on the level of generality of the question asked, and (2) more highly educated couples showed more response consistency. A cost-effective method of choosing respondents is to accept "any knowledgeable adult" in the household. In practice, husbands are interviewed more often in less-educated households where consistency is lower, and wives in the higher-educated households where consistency is higher and husbands are harder to contact. However, an even better approach would be to determine who in each family actually handles finances, instead of using sex role assumptions. (Survey description and questionnaires are appended.)

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Report series. The report was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1948 to 1993 that represented the principal publication documenting and transmitting RAND's major research findings and final research.

This research in the public interest was supported by RAND, using discretionary funds made possible by the generosity of RAND's donors, the fees earned on client-funded research, and independent research and development (IR&D) funds provided by the Department of Defense.

Our mission to help improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis is enabled through our core values of quality and objectivity and our unwavering commitment to the highest level of integrity and ethical behavior. To help ensure our research and analysis are rigorous, objective, and nonpartisan, we subject our research publications to a robust and exacting quality-assurance process; avoid both the appearance and reality of financial and other conflicts of interest through staff training, project screening, and a policy of mandatory disclosure; and pursue transparency in our research engagements through our commitment to the open publication of our research findings and recommendations, disclosure of the source of funding of published research, and policies to ensure intellectual independence. For more information, visit www.rand.org/about/principles.

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.