The data accompanies the paper: Revising Commitments: Field Evidence on the Adjustment of Prior Choices. The very poor in developing countries often make intertemporal choices that seem at odds with their individual self-interest. We investigate these choices with a lab-in-the-field experiment in rural Malawi. We make two contributions. First, we construct a new dependent variable: revisions of prior choices regarding the allocation of future income. This allows us to directly examine intertemporal choice revision and its determinants. In particular, this dependent variable permits a novel test for the existence of self-control problems: we find that revisions of money allocations toward the present are positively correlated with present-bias as well as the (randomly assigned) closeness in time between the revision decision and disbursement. Second, we investigate other potential determinants of revision. We find little evidence that revisions of money allocations toward the present are associated with spousal preferences, household shocks or the financial sophistication of respondents.
Kind of data
Sample survey data [ssd]
Rural Malawi - within 25 kilometres of the town of Mponela, Dowa District.
Unit of analysis
Participants in our study were farmers under contract with (the subsidiaries of) two large tobacco companies in the 2008–9 growing season. The companies organised the farmers into clubs that range in size from 3 to 43 members. To facilitate timely revisiting, we limited our sample to those farmers located near a main trading centre in the town of Mponela (population 13,670), and who lived in six traditional authorities (TAs) in the Dowa and Ntchisi districts. To allow relatively easy access to participants and to facilitate their access to the cash disbursements, we included all farmers in these TAs that were 2008–9 members of clubs in which the median club member lives 25 kilometres or less from the disbursement office, located in Mponela.
Producers and sponsors
University of Maryland
Arizona State University
Ford School of Public Policy, University of Michigan
Participants in the experiment were recruited in January and February 2010 from a population of rural households in central Malawi who were growing tobacco as their main cash crop. Participants were a subset of respondents who were participating in another simultaneous experiment on savings.14 To be eligible for inclusion in this experiment, respondents had to be located within 25 kilometres of the town of Mponela, to facilitate our cash disbursements. Due to our interest in interactions within the household, we further restricted our sample to farmers who were part of a married couple.
These sample restrictions left us with 1,268 targeted households. A total of 1,071 households (84.4%) and 2,142 respondents were successfully interviewed at baseline. A subset of 661 respondents (randomly selected from the full set of baseline respondents) make up the stage two sample to be revisited.
Dates of collection
Mode of data collection
The questionnaires for the Time Preference & Cognition Survey 2009 - 2010 are organized into baseline and revisit questionnaires.These are available under the Related Materials tab.
- Public use files, accessible to all
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- the Identification of the Primary Investigator
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Example: X. Giné., Goldberg, J., Silverman, D., Yang, D. Time Preference & Cognition Survey 2009 - 2010. Ref. MWI_2009-2010_TPCS_v01_M. Downloaded from [URL] on [Date].
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