Margaret Sheridan

University of North Carolina
Department of Psychology and Neuroscience
235 E. Cameron Avenue
Chapel Hill, NC

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Institutional Affiliation: University of North Carolina

NBER Working Papers and Publications

August 2015Measuring the Measurement Error: A Method to Qualitatively Validate Survey Data
with Christopher Blattman, Julian C. Jamison, Tricia Koroknay-Palicz, Katherine Rodrigues: w21447
Field experiments rely heavily on self-reported data, but subjects may misreport behaviors, especially sensitive ones such as crime. If treatment influences survey responses, it biases experimental estimates. We develop a validation technique that uses intensive qualitative work to assess survey measurement error. Subjects were assigned to receive cash, therapy, both, or neither. According to survey responses, receiving both treatments dramatically reduced crime and other sensitive behaviors. Local researchers spent several days with a random subsample of subjects following their endline surveys, building trust and seeking verbal confirmation of six behaviors: theft, drug use, homelessness, gambling, and two expenditures. This validation suggests that subjects in the control and cash only ...

Published: Blattman, Christopher & Jamison, Julian & Koroknay-Palicz, Tricia & Rodrigues, Katherine & Sheridan, Margaret, 2016. "Measuring the measurement error: A method to qualitatively validate survey data," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 120(C), pages 99-112. citation courtesy of

May 2015Reducing crime and violence: Experimental evidence from cognitive behavioral therapy in Liberia
with Christopher Blattman, Julian C. Jamison: w21204
We show that a number of “noncognitive” skills and preferences, including patience and identity, are malleable in adults, and that investments in them reduce crime and violence. We recruited criminally-engaged men and randomized half to eight weeks of cognitive behavioral therapy designed to foster self-regulation, patience, and a noncriminal identity and lifestyle. We also randomized $200 grants. Cash alone and therapy alone initially reduced crime and violence, but effects dissipated over time. When cash followed therapy, crime and violence decreased dramatically for at least a year. We hypothesize that cash reinforced therapy’s impacts by prolonging learning-by-doing, lifestyle changes, and self-investment.

Published: Christopher Blattman & Julian C. Jamison & Margaret Sheridan, 2017. "Reducing Crime and Violence: Experimental Evidence from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in Liberia," American Economic Review, vol 107(4), pages 1165-1206.

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