Economics at your fingertips  

How Much Should We Trust Micro-data? A Comparison of the Socio-demographic Profile of Malawian Households Using Census, LSMS and DHS data

Luca Tasciotti () and Natascha Wagner ()
Additional contact information
Luca Tasciotti: International Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University Rotterdam

The European Journal of Development Research, 2018, vol. 30, issue 4, 588-612

Abstract: Abstract This paper assesses the empirical representativeness of micro-data by comparing the Malawi 2008 census to two representative household surveys – ‘the Living Standard Measurement Survey’ and the ‘Demographic and Health Survey’ – both implemented in Malawi in 2010. The comparison of descriptive statistics – demographics, asset ownership, and living conditions – shows considerable similarities despite statistically identifiable differences due to the large samples. Differences mainly occur when wording, scope, and pre-defined answer categories diverge across surveys. Multivariate analyses are considerably less representative due to loss of observations with composite indicators yielding higher comparability as individual ones. Household-level fixed-effect specifications produce more similar results, yet are not suited for policy conclusions. Comparability of micro-data should not be assumed but checked on a case-by-case basis. Still, micro-data constitute reliable grounds for factually informed conclusions if design and context are appropriately considered.

Keywords: household data; survey; representativeness; sub-Saharan Africa; Malawi (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (2) Track citations by RSS feed

Downloads: (external link) Abstract (text/html)
Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

Related works:
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.

Export reference: BibTeX RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan) HTML/Text

Persistent link:

Ordering information: This journal article can be ordered from

Access Statistics for this article

The European Journal of Development Research is currently edited by Spencer Henson and Natalia Lorenzoni

More articles in The European Journal of Development Research from Palgrave Macmillan, European Association of Development Research and Training Institutes (EADI) Contact information at EDIRC.
Bibliographic data for series maintained by Sonal Shukla ().

Page updated 2019-06-04
Handle: RePEc:pal:eurjdr:v:30:y:2018:i:4:d:10.1057_s41287-017-0083-6