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Editor's choice Aspirations: An Approach to Measurement with Validation Using Ethiopian Data

Tanguy Bernard and Alemayehu Taffesse

Journal of African Economies, 2014, vol. 23, issue 2, 189-224

Abstract: Individuals' aspirations and their consequences on future-oriented behaviour have received increased attention in development economics literature in recent years. At this stage, each study relies on ad hoc empirical instruments to measure aspirations, thereby limiting comparability of the results obtained. This paper proposes a set of simple measurement instruments, spanning several dimensions that can be aggregated via individual-specific weights. We use a purposefully collected data set to test for the usability, reliability and validity of the instruments, based on a test–retest approach, along with random variations within the questionnaire and the information set available to respondents, and differential enumerator experience. Our results support the proposed set of measurement instruments, with the caveat that the instrument requires experienced enumerators capable of adequately probing respondents.

Date: 2014
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Journal of African Economies is currently edited by Marcel Fafchamps

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