The EGC-ISSER Socioeconomic Panel Survey is a collaboration between the Economic Growth Center (EGC) at Yale University and the Institute of Statistical, Social, and Economic Research (ISSER) at the University of Ghana, Legon. The survey is principally funded by the EGC, designed by both the EGC and ISSER, and carried out and supervised by ISSER.
The main objective of this survey is to provide a scientific framework for a wide range of potential studies of the medium- and long-term changes that are taking place during the process of development. The survey is meant to remedy a major constraint on the understanding of development in low-income countries - the absence of detailed, multi-level and long-term scientific data that follows individuals over time and describes both the natural and built environment in which the individuals reside.
Our strategy is to permit the investigation of unexpected connections between the multiple transformations that occur during the process of economic development. To do so, we have implemented a large-scale, nation-wide panel survey in Ghana that will extend for at least 15 years. The planned interval for re-surveying is three years. This interval has been chosen to conserve on costs, because three years is sufficient to begin to observe real changes, and to coordinate with the other Yale EGC panel surveys taking place around the world.
Most data collection efforts are short-term - carried out a one point in time; are limited in scope - collecting information on only a few aspects of the lives of the persons in the study; and when there are multiple rounds of data collection, individuals who leave the study area are dropped. This latter means that the most mobile people are not included in existing surveys and studies, perhaps substantially biasing inferences about who benefits from and who bears the cost of the development process. The design of this survey aims to mitigate the selectivity associated with migration in assessing socio-economic mobility, and will permit precise estimates from the randomization of experimental interventions.