What Do Survey Data Tell Us about U.S. Businesses?
This paper examines the reliability of survey data for research on pass-through businesses activities. Passthrough businesses account for over half of all net income to businesses in the United States and most of the rise in top income shares. We examine all surveys that ask questions about these businesses and compare outcomes across surveys and with aggregated administrative data. We document large inconsistencies in business incomes, receipts, and number of returns. We highlight problems due to non-representative samples and measurement errors. Non-representativeness is reflected in ...
Battery order effects on relative ratings in Likert scales
Likert-scale batteries, sequences of questions with the same ordinal response choices, are often used in surveys to collect information about attitudes on a related set of topics. Analysis of such data often focuses on the study of relative ratings or the likelihood that one item is given a lower (or higher) rating than another item. This work studies how different orderings of the items within a battery and, in particular, the relative location of items affect relative rating distributions. We take advantage of data from the 2012?2014 Survey of Consumer Payment Surveys, in which item order ...
Data Appendix: What Do Survey Data Tell Us about U.S. Businesses?
In this appendix, we provide details on the data sources and construction of variables for our analysis in "What Do Survey Data Tell Us about U.S. Businesses?" We also include the auxiliary tables and figures omitted from the main text.
What Do Survey Data Tell Us about US Businesses?
This paper examines the reliability of survey data on business incomes, valuations, and rates of return, which are key inputs for studies of wealth inequality and entrepreneurial choice. We compare survey responses of business owners with available data from administrative tax records, brokered private business sales, and publicly traded company filings and document problems due to nonrepresentative samples and measurement errors across all surveys, subsamples, and years. We find that the discrepancies are economically relevant for the statistics of interest. We investigate reasons for these ...
Texas Service Sector Outlook Survey: Survey Methodology and Performance
The Texas Service Sector Outlook Survey (TSSOS) and Texas Retail Outlook Survey (TROS) are monthly surveys of service sector and retail firms in Texas conducted by the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas. TSSOS and TROS track the Texas private services sector, including general service businesses, retailers and wholesalers. The surveys provide invaluable information on regional economic conditions?information that Dallas Fed economists and the Bank president use in the formulation of monetary policy. This paper describes the survey?s methodology and analyzes the explanatory and predictive power of ...
Heaping at Round Numbers on Financial Questions : The Role of Satisficing
Survey responses to quantitative financial questions frequently display strong patterns of heaping at round numbers. This paper uses two studies to examine variation in rounding across questions and by individual characteristics. Rounding was more common for respondents low in ability, for respondents low in motivation, and for more difficult questions, all consistent with theories of satisficing. Questions that require more difficult information retrieval and integration of information exhibit more heaping. The use of records, which lowers task difficulty, reduces rounding as well. Higher ...
Modeling anchoring effects in sequential Likert scale questions
Surveys in many different research fields rely on sequences of Likert scale questions to assess individuals' general attitudes toward a set of related topics. Most analyses of responses to such a series do not take into account the potential measurement error introduced by the context effect we dub "sequential anchoring," which occurs when the rating for one question influences the rating given to the following question by favoring similar ratings. The presence of sequential anchoring can cause systematic bias in the study of relative ratings. We develop a latent-variable framework for ...
What Do Survey Data Tell Us about US Businesses?
This paper examines the reliability of survey data on business incomes, valuations, and rates of return, which are key inputs for studies of wealth inequality and entrepreneurial choice. We compare survey responses of business owners with available data from administrative tax records, brokered private business sales, and publicly traded company filings and document problems due to nonrepresentative samples and measurement errors across several surveys, subsamples, and years. We find that the discrepancies are economically relevant for the statistics of interest. We investigate reasons for ...
News and Uncertainty about COVID-19: Survey Evidence and Short-Run Economic Impact
We survey households about their expectations of the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic, in real time and at daily frequency. Our baseline question asks about the expected impact on output and inflation over a one-year horizon. Starting on March 10, the median response suggests that the expected output loss is still moderate. This changes over the course of three weeks: At the end of March, the expected loss amounts to some 15 percent. Meanwhile, the pandemic is expected to raise inflation considerably. The uncertainty about these effects is very large. In the second part of the paper ...
Sample Bias Related to Household Role
This paper develops a two-stage statistical analysis to identify and assess the effect of a sample bias associated with an individual's household role. Survey responses to questions about the respondent's role in household finances and a sampling design in which some households have all members take the survey enable the estimation of distributions for each individual's share of household responsibility. The methodology is applied to the 2017 Survey of Consumer Payment Choice. The distribution of responsibility shares among survey respondents suggests that the sampling procedure favors ...