Can Survey Participation Alter Household Saving Behavior?

March 12, 2015, 13:45 h
Mannheim, Conference room B2,8

Prof. Dr. Joachim Winter


Much empirical research in economics is based on data from household surveys. Panel surveys are particularly valuable for understanding dynamics and heterogeneity. A possible concern with panel surveys is that survey participation itself may alter subsequent behavior. We provide novel evidence of survey effects on a central life-cycle choice: household saving. We exploit randomized assignment to survey modules within the LISS Panel, an internet panel survey which is representative of the Dutch population. We find that households that respond to detailed questions on expenditures and needs in retirement reduced their non-housing saving rate by 3.5 percentage points, on average. This mean effect is driven by high-education households which have the highest pension and housing wealth. Our saving measure is based on linked administrative wealth data. Thus we can rule out the possibility that the effect is on reporting, rather than on the underlying saving behavior. One interpretation is that the survey acted as a salience shock, possibly with respect to reduced housing costs in retirement.

Linkt to the paper

About the speaker

Joachim Winter is Professor of Economics at the University of Munich (LMU). He holds graduate degrees in economics from the University of Augsburg and the London School of Economics and a doctoral degree from the University of Mannheim. He served as the deputy director of the Mannheim Research Institute for the Economics of Aging (MEA) before joining the LMU’s Department of Economics in October 2004. His research interests include the household saving and portfolio choice; individual decision making; design and analysis of household surveys; and applied econometrics. He has published in leading journals such as the Economic Journal, the Journal of Business and Economic Statistics, the Journal of Econometrics, and the Review of Economics and Statistics.