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He Said/She Said: Testing Respondent Effects in Household Income Reporting

Last registered on December 29, 2021


Trial Information

General Information

He Said/She Said: Testing Respondent Effects in Household Income Reporting
Initial registration date
December 11, 2019

Initial registration date is when the trial was registered.

It corresponds to when the registration was submitted to the Registry to be reviewed for publication.

First published
December 11, 2019, 11:42 AM EST

First published corresponds to when the trial was first made public on the Registry after being reviewed.

Last updated
December 29, 2021, 11:27 AM EST

Last updated is the most recent time when changes to the trial's registration were published.



Primary Investigator

RWI - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
University of Connecticut

Additional Trial Information

On going
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
Obtaining reliable data on household and respondent income and understanding the quality of this data is of great importance to researchers and policy makers. Several papers have found evidence that household income is often misreported. However, the causes and consequences of intra-household reporting discrepancies remain poorly understood. Commonly, the most knowledgeable household member, often the household head, is interviewed in household surveys. Surveying only one household member could potentially lead to incomplete or erroneous information on the households’ aggregate income for several reasons. Household members could be oblivious of all income-generating activities of their spouses, for example because spouses intentionally hide income from one another. Incomplete pooling of information within the household could also result in difficulties to accurately report on other’s income, even if a household member is aware of all sources of income. These concerns can be overrun by assessing multiple household members separately. However, this comes at a logistical and monetary cost. This survey experiment aims to shed light on the discrepancies in intra-household reporting on aggregate income.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Fiala, Nathan and Lise Masselus. 2021. "He Said/She Said: Testing Respondent Effects in Household Income Reporting." AEA RCT Registry. December 29.
Experimental Details


Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
The primary outcome interest is aggregate household income
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
We calculate aggregate income by summing up the reported income earned in the past 4 weeks from a list of economic activities, for all household members.

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
As secondary outcomes, we will also look at income per household member, and income per economic activity as outcome variables.
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
This study consists of a survey experiment where we randomize who in the household responds to income questions. The experiment is designed as a stratified clustered-RCT where villages are allocated to one of three treatment arms. Randomization will be stratified at the subcounty level.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Stratified clustered randomization done by a computer
Randomization Unit
The unit of randomization is the village.
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
200 clusters in Uganda
165 clusters in Paraguay
Sample size: planned number of observations
3000 households in Uganda 2000 households in Paraguay
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
Uganda: 100 clusters T1, 50 clusters T2 and 50 clusters T3
Paraguay: 110 clusters T1, 55 clusters T2
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
Analysis Plan

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Post Trial Information

Study Withdrawal

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Is the intervention completed?
Intervention Completion Date
March 31, 2020, 12:00 +00:00
Data Collection Complete
Data Collection Completion Date
March 31, 2020, 12:00 +00:00
Final Sample Size: Number of Clusters (Unit of Randomization)
Paraguay: 165 villages
Uganda: 200 villages
Was attrition correlated with treatment status?
Final Sample Size: Total Number of Observations
Paraguay: 1576 households
Uganda: 2564 households
Final Sample Size (or Number of Clusters) by Treatment Arms
Paraguay: T1 (applicant only): 108 clusters, 1063 observations. T2 (joint interview): 57 clusters, 513 observations. Uganda: T1 (applicant only): 100 clusters, 1283 observations. T2 (joint interview): 50 clusters, 649 observations, T3 (separate interview): 50 clusters, 632 observations
Data Publication

Data Publication

Is public data available?

Program Files

Program Files
Reports, Papers & Other Materials

Relevant Paper(s)

The common practice in household questionnaires of surveying the most knowledgeable household member can lead to inaccurate data if they have limited information. Using survey experiments in Paraguay and Uganda, we investigate whether there are discrepancies in intra-household reporting on income and consumption when multiple household members are interviewed. We use data from 4,100 households where we randomly vary whether the survey is administered to one spouse only, both spouses together or both spouses separately. We do not find meaningful systematic differences in the mean or distribution of household income and consumption and conclude that the magnitude of respondent effects for these variables is unlikely to bias most empirical analyses. However, a within-household analysis reveals large, but mostly unsystematic, reporting discrepancies. Taken together, the results indicate that respondent selection may matter for obtaining accurate information for a given household, but not for aggregate analysis of households.
Fiala, Nathan and Masselus, Lise, (2022), Whom to ask? Testing respondent effects in household surveys, No 935, Ruhr Economic Papers, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-University Bochum, TU Dortmund University, University of Duisburg-Essen.

Reports & Other Materials