Using a large-scale consumer database created by AT&T, the authors investigate how actual behavioral frequency and duration systematically affect the direction of errors in consumer survey responses. By analyzing errors in consumers' reports on their frequency of using long-distance telephone calls, letters, cards, and visits for personal communication, the authors demonstrate that high-frequency groups underreported their behavioral frequencies, whereas low-frequency groups overreported them. Similarly, the results show that consumers underestimate the duration of lengthy telephone conversations, whereas they overestimate the duration of short ones. Overall, the authors find that people tend to overestimate both frequency and duration. These compressive regressive effects toward the mean and overall upward bias for both frequency and duration estimations result in a distorted view of the market, which will be incorrectly perceived to be more homogeneous and larger than it really is.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Business and International Management
- Economics and Econometrics