Table of Contents

Handbook of Research Methods and Applications in Heterodox Economics

Handbook of Research Methods and Applications in Heterodox Economics

Handbooks of Research Methods and Applications series

Edited by Frederic S. Lee and Bruce Cronin

Despite the important critiques of the mainstream offered by heterodox economics, the dominant method remains econometrics. This major new Handbook provides an invaluable introduction to a range of alternative research methods better suited for analysing the social data prominent in heterodox research projects, including survey, historical, ethnographic, experimental, and mixed approaches, together with factor, cluster, complex, and social network analytics. Introductions to each method are complemented by descriptions of applications in practice.

Chapter 26: Measuring the intra-household distribution of wealth in Ecuador: qualitative insights and quantitative outcomes

Carmen Diana Deere and Zachary B. Catanzarite

Subjects: economics and finance, history of economic thought, methodology of economics, post-keynesian economics, radical and feminist economics, research methods, research methods in economics

Abstract

This chapter reports on a study that aimed to measure the intra-household distribution of wealth following a mixed methods approach. The first phase was dedicated to qualitative field research – including focus groups, interviews with key informants, and a study of assets markets – followed by a representative household asset survey in order to collect information on individual-level asset ownership. One of the main insights from the qualitative fieldwork was with respect to whom should be interviewed in the survey. Given the gender division of labor and men’s and women’s different experiences with asset markets as well as sources of information, we expected that the most reliable estimates of asset values might be obtained by interviewing a couple together, whenever possible. Data triangulation shows that the joint interviews probably improved the reliability of our estimates of housing and land values by reducing the tendency to guess when there were in fact missing markets or a person really did not know the answer. We had also expected that interviewing a couple together would improve the estimates by allowing them to reach a consensus on the potential asset value. The quantitative findings of a tendency toward men overvaluing and/or women undervaluing their dwelling thus conforms to this insight. We find evidence that the valuation of potential asset sales prices is likely to depend on the gender of the respondent, whether a couple are interviewed separately or together, and whether they are located in an urban or rural locale.

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