Enumerator Knowledge Effects in Subjective Expectation Elicitation

Jason Kerwin, University of Minnesota
Natalia Ordaz Reynoso, University of Minnesota

Direct elicitation of subjective beliefs is increasingly popular in economic research, but doing so via face-to-face surveys has an important downside: the enumerator’s knowledge of the topic may spill over into the respondent’s recorded beliefs. Using a randomized experiment that used enumerators to implement an information treatment, we show that reported beliefs are significantly shifted by enumerator knowledge, decreasing by about 0.3 standard deviations of the initial belief distribution. Trained enumerators primed respondents to use the exact numbers used in the training, nudging them away from higher answers. Furthermore, respondents with stronger priors are less affected by enumerator knowledge. We suggest corrections from the perspectives of enumerator recruitment, survey design, experiment setup, and data analysis.

See paper.

  Presented in Session 117. Methodological Issues in Population Studies