The Commodity Chain of the Household: From Survey Design to Policy Planning

Ernestina E. Coast, London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE)
Tiziana Leone, London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE)
Sara Randall, University College London

The practicalities of data collection, analysis and policy formulation require a social unit to be defined, generally referred to as a household, although households as defined by survey practitioners may bear little resemblance to the social units that many people live in. Although household surveys are integral to planning for development in most poor countries, frequently little attention is paid to the issue of how the survey ‘household’ was defined and what this might mean for interpretation. This research establishes contrasts, contradictions and changes in how households have been defined and used in sub-Saharan African surveys and the implications of these definitions for analyses and policy-making, using two strands of evidence: a review of household surveys (post-1970) and censuses (post-1950) in sub-Saharan Africa, contextualised by comparison with European household surveys; Secondly, in-depth interviews with household survey commissioners, producers and consumers which are analysed using content analysis of verbatim transcriptions.

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Presented in Session 60: New Approaches in Demographic Data Collection and Measurements