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

Working Paper
Published on 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.


Simon Quinn

University of Oxford