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  1. Introduction
  2. Data and documentation
  3. SHWALITA Publications



SHWALITA, short for ‘Survey of Household Welfare and Labour in Tanzania’, is a 4,000 household survey that randomly assigns different survey modules to its respondents. The survey consists of 3 separate experiments, carefully bundled into one survey:

(i) A consumption experiment in which we developed eight alternative consumption questionnaires which were randomly distributed across 4,000 households. These eight designs vary by method (3 diaries and 5 recall modules), length of reference period in recall modules, and the number of items in the recall modules.

(ii) labour module experiments in which we assess the effect of different ways of collecting labour statistics. It uses two different modules, a long module and a short module, and administers each to either the person him/herself or to someone else in the household answering on their behalf (a proxy respondent). Both proxy respondents and self-reporting respondents are sampled randomly from the roster of household members.

(iii) subjective welfare experiments in which we use an innovative approach to enhance comparability of subjective welfare questions. The technique, developed in political sciences by Gary King, involves the respondent to provide scaled answers on qualitative questions (on a scale of 1 to 5, how do you feel about….). In order to ‘anchor’ the response the respondent is given a ‘vignette’ a short, but powerful story about a fictitious person and is then asked to place this person on the same scale. The placing of the vignette on the same scale allows answers to become more comparable across households, communities and countries.

Fieldwork for the project was implemented by EDI, who also maintain a web page on SHWALITA, which I recommend for additional information and resources (click here and then through to SHWALITA).


Instruments and set-up

The following 8 modules were randomly assigned to 3 respondents in each of the 168 villages in the survey. Below you can download these modules in English or Swahili:

  1. Long list of items, 14 day recall. Swahili - English
  2. Long list of items, 7 day recall. Swahili - English
  3. Subset list of items, 7 day recall. Swahili - English
  4. Collapsed list of items, 7 day recall. Swahili - English
  5. Usual month approach, long list of items, 12 months recall. Swahili - English
  6. Household diary, 14 days, Frequent visits. Swahili - English
  7. Household diary, 14 days, Infrequent visits. Swahili - English
  8. Personal diary, 14 days, Frequent visits. Swahili - English

In each community the teams administered a price questionnaire, as well as a community questionnaire (Swahili - English). The diary households were also administered this questionnaire spread across the first and last day of the visit (Swahili - English).

The data can be downloaded directly here or through the World Bank's microdata library here.


SHWALITA Publications

Gazeaud J. 2020. Proxy means testing vulnerability to measurement errors? The Journal of Development Studies, DOI: 10.1080/00220388.2020.1715942.

Dillon, Brian, Joachim De Weerdt and Ted O'Donoghue. 2020. Paying More for Less: why don’t households in Tanzania take advantage of bulk discounts?" World Bank Economic Review, lhz020, download.

Amaye, Hannah. 2017.  Urbanization and the Two Tails of Malnutrition in Tanzania. LICOS Discussion Paper 388

Serneels, Pieter, Kathleen Beegle and Andrew Dillon. 2017. Do returns to education depend on how and whom you ask? Economics of Education Review 60(2017):5-19

Ravallion, Martin, Kristen Himelein, and Kathleen Beegle. Forthcoming. “Can Subjective Questions on Economic Welfare Be Trusted? Evidence for Three Developing Countries.” Economic Development and Cultural Change.

Friedman, Jed, Kathleen Beegle, Joachim De Weerdt and John Gibson. forthcoming. Decomposing Response Error in Food Consumption Measurement: implications for survey design from a randomized survey experiment in Tanzania”. Food Policy.

De Weerdt, Joachim, Kathleen Beegle, Jed Friedman and John Gibson. 2015. The Challenge of Measuring Hunger through Survey. Economic Development and Cultural Change 64(4):727–758. download

Gibson, John, Kathleen Beegle, Joachim De Weerdt and Jed Friedman. 2015. What Does Variation in Household Survey Methods Reveal About the Nature of Measurement Errors in Consumption Estimates? Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics 77(3): 466-474.

Beegle, Kathleen, Joachim De Weerdt, Jed Friedman and John Gibson. 2012. Methods of Household Consumption Measurement through Surveys:  Experimental Results from Tanzania. Journal of Development Economics 98:3-18.

Bardasi, Elena, Kathleen Beegle, Andrew Dillon and Pieter Serneels. 2011. Do Labor Statistics Depend on How and to Whom the Questions are Asked? Results from a Survey Experiment in Tanzania. World Bank Economic Review 25(3): 418 – 447

Dillon, Andrew, Elena Bardasi, Kathleen Beegle and Pieter Serneels. 2012. Explaining Variation in Child Labor Statistics. Journal of Development Economics 98 (1): 136-147.


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