Assessing the Household's Financial Situation, Alone with the Interviewer or in the Partner's Presence

By Patrick Festy, Joëlle Gaymu, Marc Thévenin, Catriona Dutreuilh

While interviewers are generally instructed to administer survey questionnaires on a one-to-one basis, a large share of interviews are actually conducted in the partner’s presence, notably when respondents are advanced in age. In the French version of the Generations and Gender Survey (ERFI, Études des relations familiales et intergénérationnelles), for example, the proportion was 40% among respondents aged 50 and over. Couples where the partner attends the interview do not have the same characteristics as those where the respondent is interviewed alone, and the differences between the two groups are more marked when the respondent is a woman. For the question on the household’s financial situation, while there is no difference between men’s and women’s responses over the sample as a whole, men more often report having financial difficulties than women when interviewed alone, while the reverse is true when the partner is present, in which case they more frequently report financial wellbeing than women. The factors associated with financial hardship are identical for both sexes however, whatever the interview conditions. While it is difficult to determine whether, as a general rule, the partner’s presence raises or lowers the quality of the respondents’ answers, the way they are interpreted depends partly on the interview conditions.


  • financial situation
  • gender relations
  • questionnaire administration
  • face-to-face survey
  • GGS
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