Rounding Probabilistic Expectations in Surveys.

TitleRounding Probabilistic Expectations in Surveys.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2010
AuthorsManski, CF
JournalJ Bus Econ Stat
Date Published2010 Apr 01
ISSN Number0735-0015

Rounding is the familiar practice of reporting one value whenever a real number lies in an interval. Uncertainty about the extent of rounding is common when researchers analyze survey responses to numerical questions. The prevalent practice has been to take numerical responses at face value, even though many may in fact be rounded. This paper studies the rounding of responses to survey questions that ask persons to state the percent-chance that some future event will occur. We analyze data from the Health and Retirement Study and find strong evidence of rounding, the extent of rounding differing across respondents. We propose use of a person's response pattern across different questions to infer his rounding practice, the result being interpretation of reported numerical values as interval data. We then bring to bear recent developments on statistical analysis of interval data to characterize the potential consequences of rounding for empirical research. Finally, we propose enrichment of surveys by probing to learn the extent and reasons for rounding.

User Guide Notes

Endnote Keywords

Interval data/Partial identification/Probabilistic expectations/Rounding/Survey data

Endnote ID


Alternate JournalJ Bus Econ Stat
Citation Key7469
PubMed ID20368764
PubMed Central IDPMC2847785
Grant ListP01 AG026571 / AG / NIA NIH HHS / United States
R21 AG028465 / AG / NIA NIH HHS / United States
R21 AG028465-01 / AG / NIA NIH HHS / United States
R21 AG028465-02 / AG / NIA NIH HHS / United States
P01 AG026571-02 / AG / NIA NIH HHS / United States