Category Archives: households surveys

To Practice 7 – I’m not the World Bank


Before starting my Nicaraguan experience, dreams of glory flooded my ego. Reviewing all my studies on data collection, I knew it would have been a priority to collect data from households survey as fast as possible. Because interviewing the first household of the community today and the last one in 6-months time means introducing a significant source of bias in the research, especially in rural economies subject to seasonality. However, I’m realising that I was naive. Because we’re just two interviewers, because I didn’t consider my stomach could have left me in my room for one entire week, because I go to and from the community using my stick, not my jeep. In other words, because I’m not the World Bank, nor Indiana Jones. To sum up, my goal is to have enough large control group to match with the treatment of the households who participate to a micro credit scheme – the ‘Small Business Program. I have two possibilities: surrendering to the extended collection time bias or opting for a second best solution. I’m trying to move toward the second option. In parallel with the community survey, I’m working with students of a technical high school to assess the program Education That Pays For Itself, run by the English NGO, Teach A Man To Fish. Among the NGO’s outcomes of interests, there is the socioeconomic condition of the students’ families. Hence, I’ training the students to interview their families (belonging to other communities though), in order to increase quickly the treatment group. Therefore, I can focus my interviews in the community on treatment group mainly, shortening the data collection timing, and getting information on students’ families. The assumption is that from the students’ families, coming from rural background in Nicaragua, a PSM approach will allow me to select part of my control group. I fancy to better solutions…

P.S. Edgar, I know you’re thinking about the horse!

To Practice (4) – God’s Willingness and the Ethic of Risk


Interview 2, 3 & 4 completed. I shortened the time, from 3 to 2 hours to complete the questionnaire! Like the first time, I brought back home both material and spiritual enrichment.  Again, the vulnerability section is giving unexpected reactions. At the question whether the hh’s head was afraid of different shocks affecting familiar economic activity, the perceived fear decreased in the time-horizon, counter-intuitively. ‘What God keeps today, he will give it back tomorrow’ is the respondent’s explanation.  In some ways, this attitude could bring individuals to invest in riskier activities, faithful in divine justice at sometime; on the other hand, individuals could have an incentive to inactivity, being everything decided – reminiscences of Bachelor’s courses on Webber and The Protestant Ethic of Capitalism come to me.‎ I’ll seek to let the data tell me this story.

In the picture below, Questionnaire  with ocote (my second still life!), a pine resin used to light up the house – not reached by electric light.