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Anchoring Vignettes and Cross-country Comparability: An Empirical Assessment of Self-reported Mobility

Health Econometrics

ISBN: 978-1-78714-542-9, eISBN: 978-1-78714-541-2

ISSN: 0573-8555

Publication date: 30 May 2018


Anchoring vignettes have become a popular method to adjust self-assessed data for systematic differences in reporting behaviour to aid comparability, for example, of cross-country analyses. The method relies on the two fundamental assumptions of response consistency and vignette equivalence. Evidence on the validity of these assumptions is equivocal. This chapter considers the utility of the vignette approach by considering how successful the method is in moving self-assessed reports of health mobility towards objective counterparts. We draw on data from the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE) and undertake pairwise country comparisons of cumulative distributions of self-reports, their objective counterparts and vignette adjusted reports. Comparison of distributions is based on tests for stochastic dominance. Multiple cross-country comparisons are undertaken to assess the consistency of results across contexts and settings. Both non-parametric and parametric approaches to vignette adjustment are considered. In general, we find the anchoring vignette methodology poorly reconciles self-reported data with objective counterparts.




This research was funded by the Economic and Social Research Council under the Large Grant Scheme (RES-060-25-0045). We would like to thank Ranjeeta Thomas, Marta Soares and Pedro Rosa Dias for valuable advice and participants of the 8th World Congress on Health Economics (Toronto, July 2011), the Annual Conference of the Italian Association of Health Economics (Naples, September 2011), the Italian SHARE Users Conference (Venice, June 2012), Bomopav Economics Meeting (Venice, April 2013) and the Health, Econometrics and Data Group Seminar Series at the University of York for helpful comments.


Jones, A.M., Rice, N. and Robone, S. (2018), "Anchoring Vignettes and Cross-country Comparability: An Empirical Assessment of Self-reported Mobility", Health Econometrics (Contributions to Economic Analysis, Vol. 294), Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 145-174.



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