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“If You Were Me”: Proxy Respondents’ Biases in Population Health Surveys

Bérengère Davin (), Xavier Joutard () and Alain Paraponaris ()
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Bérengère Davin: Aix Marseille Univ., INSERM, IRD, SESSTIM & Observatoire Régional de la Santé PACA,
Xavier Joutard: Aix Marseille Univ., CNRS, LEST & OFCE,
Alain Paraponaris: Aix Marseille Univ., CNRS, EHESS, Centrale Marseille, AMSE & Observatoire Régional de la Santé PACA,

No 1905, AMSE Working Papers from Aix-Marseille School of Economics, France

Abstract: Proxy respondents are widely used in population health surveys to maximize response rates. When surveys target frail elderly, the measurement error is expected to be smaller than selection or participation biases. However, in the literature on elderly needs for care, proxy use is most often considered with a dummy variable in which endogeneity with subjects’ health status is rarely scrutinised in a robust way. Pitfalls of this choice extend beyond methodological issues. Indeed, the mismeasurement of needs for care with daily activities might lead to irrelevant social policies or to private initiatives that try to address those needs. This paper proposes a comprehensive and tractable strategy supported by various robustness checks to cope with the suspected endogeneity of proxy use to the unobserved health status of subjects in reports of needs for care with activities of daily living. Proxy respondents’ subjectivity is found to inflate the needs of the elderly who are replaced or assisted in answering the questionnaire and to deflate the probability of unmet or undermet needs.

Keywords: proxy respondent; measurement bias; endogeneity; selection; Copula; needs for care; ADLs; IADLs (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C31 C35 C36 I12 J14 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 18 pages
Date: 2019-02
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-age
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