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The literature on reporting error provides insights into the quality of retrospective reports, particularly as it pertains to short-term recall. Less is understood about the generalizability of these findings to longer-term retrospective reports. The authors review studies analyzing the quality of retrospective reports in the Malaysian Family Life Surveys (MFLS), fielded in Peninsular Malaysia in 1976 and 1988, and conclude that many of the data quality problems found previously are present in the MFLS. The authors summarize this literature, place studies based on the MFLS within the context of the reporting error literature, and discuss implications for the design of future surveys.

Originally published in: Journal of Human Resources, v. 36, no. 3, 2001, pp. 593-625.

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