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Abstract

Knowledge and Preference in Reporting Financial Information
Honggao Cao and Daniel H. Hill
WP 2005-100

This article models respondent behavior in a financial survey with a framework explicitly integrating a respondent’s knowledge of and willingness to reveal his or her financial status. Whether a respondent provides a valid answer, a “don’t know”, or a “refusal” to a financial question depends on the interaction of his or her financial knowledge and preferences regarding revealing the knowledge. Using asset response and nonresponse data from the Health and Retirement Study (2000), we found that knowledge and preferences play interrelated roles in reporting financial information, that a respondent’s age, gender, education, and race and ethnicity are important predictors of respondent behavior, and that race and ethnicity affect a respondent behavior only via their influence on preferences, while gender only via its influence on knowledge. We also found strong heterogeneity in respondents’ financial knowledge and their willingness to reveal the knowledge.

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