Can we trust an adult's estimate of parental school attainment? Disentangling social desirability bias and random measurement error

Ricardo Godoy, Victoria Reyes-García, Susan Tanner, William R. Leonard, Thomas W. McDade, Tomás Huanca

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Researchers often need to know the parental school attainment of adult subjects. When researchers cannot ask parents about their school attainment, they must ask adult offspring about the school attainment of their parents. We assess the accuracy of answers provided by adults about the school attainment of their parents with data from a native Amazonian society in Bolivia (Tsimane'). Offspring overestimate the school attainment of their parents. They also report inaccurately other human capital attributes of their parents (e.g., writing skills, fluency speaking Spanish, practical indigenous knowledge of medicinal plants). Results mesh with findings from the United States about the lack of reliability of adults' self-reports about parental school attainment and with prior research among the Tsimane' suggesting significant misreporting of other outcomes (e.g., age, income, parental height). © 2008 Sage Publications.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)26-45
JournalField Methods
Volume20
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 18 Sep 2008

Keywords

  • Amazon
  • Bolivia
  • Education
  • Human capital
  • Informant accuracy
  • Reliability coefficient
  • Social desirability bias
  • Tsimane'

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