Working Paper

Speaking for Herself: Changing Gender Roles in Survey Response


Abstract: Among married and cohabiting couples, the percentage of female respondents has increased substantially in the PSID (Panel Study of Income Dynamics) from 9% in 1968 to 60% in 2015. This shift in gender composition has taken place despite a formal policy that historically designated male heads of household as respondents. We use this shift as a case study to explore which characteristics are associated with women responding to the PSID and how different respondent gender compositions may affect data quality. First, we find that women are increasingly less likely to respond as their husband?s income increases or if their husband is highly educated. Women are more likely to respond if they are more educated than their husband. {{p}} Second, we find that male respondents tend to report incomes about $5,000 higher than female respondents. Had the gender composition of respondents been closer to 50/50, average household income would have been reduced by as much as $2,500. Our research provides important insights into the quality of survey data and the changing role of women in households.

Keywords: Household Surveys; Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID);

JEL Classification: C80; J10; J16;

https://doi.org/10.18651/RWP2019-01

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Bibliographic Information

Provider: Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City

Part of Series: Research Working Paper

Publication Date: 2019-02-28

Number: RWP 19-1

Pages: 37 pages