Jul 28, 2011


Farmers Accurately Recall Sales and Other Agricultural Data Months after Harvest

  • Jul 28, 2011
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  • Agriculture is critical to development, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa, but little is known about the quality of agricultural statistics. In a new working paper, Kathleen Beegle, Calogero Carletto and Kristen Himelein address one aspect of data collection: Will it compromise data quality if farmers are asked to recall detailed events months after harvest? The authors, drawing on data from three national surveys conducted over a year, find little evidence of recall bias for the average farm household. Indeed, farmers’ reports of harvest information, crop sales and use of fertilizers and hired labor are not significantly different when they are interviewed more than eight months later, instead of soon after the harvest. Although this isn’t evidence that agricultural data are not of poor quality, it does address at least one aspect of data collection, namely whether the length of the recall period could compromise data quality.

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