Call Me Maybe: Experimental Evidence on Using Mobile Phones to Survey Microenterprises

Thursday, 4 May, 2017
Garlick, Orkin and Quinn (2017) run the first randomised controlled trial to compare microenterprise data from surveys of different frequency and medium. They randomly assign enterprises to monthly in-person, weekly in-person, or weekly phone panel surveys. Higher-frequency interviews have little effect on enterprise outcomes or reporting behaviour. They generate more data, capture short-term fluctuations, and may increase reporting accuracy. They result in lower response rates for each interview but do not increase permanent attrition from the panel. Conducting high-frequency interviews by phone, not in-person, lowers costs and has little effect on outcomes, attrition, or response rates, but induces slightly different reporting on some measures.