Economic Growth Center

EGC-ISSER Ghana Panel Survey


The main objective of this survey, a collaboration between the Yale Economic Growth Center and the Institute for Statistical, Social and Economic Research, University of Ghana (ISSER) and principally funded by the EGC, 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.

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.

The design of the survey will provide close monitoring of the behavior of households and enterprises, will eliminate the selectivity associated with migration in assessing socio-economic mobility, and will permit precise estimates from the randomization of experimental interventions.

Survey instruments are now available.


The baseline survey consists of a random sample of 5,000 households in 333 enumeration areas (EAs) from the Ghana census sample frame.  There are three primary components of the fieldwork:

  1. Census of all households in each EA, based on house-to-house interviews.  This will include information on basic variables, including head’s education, occupation and the age and gender of all household members, household income and some indicators of social and political status.
  1. Community questionnaire, based on key informant interviews.  This is an extensive account of community institutions, programs and infrastructure.  It includes questions on local governance, land tenure, shocks to the local economy, and spot checks of local education and health facilities to document attendance and availability of inputs, basic testing of quality of potable water, with GPS information on all locations.
  1. Household Survey. Socioeconomic, demographic and health questionnaires for the sample households are administered. The modules of the household survey include:
    1. Household roster with basic demographics and education;
    2. Details of the educational career of each household member, including achievement and cognitive testing;
    3. Health and utilization of health services, including fertility and reproductive health, anthropometric measurements and ADLs;
    4. Occupation, earnings, and characteristics of employment, including a time use survey;
    5. Migration history;
    6. Information of non-resident family members, spouses, and the extended family;
    7. Agriculture, including plot-level inputs and outputs, assets, livestock, land tenure and GPS measurement of all plots;
    8. Non-farm enterprises;
    9. Consumption expenditure;
    10. Transfers, borrowing, lending and gifts;
    11. Household assets;
    12. Social networks, in addition to the information on transaction partners that is recorded on all transactions in the data, including political and social activities.

Each additional survey round will track all members (or a random subsample of all members) of each of the initial survey households, regardless of their current location.

The wide scope and long-term time frame of this survey provide a broad set of opportunities of collaborative research and extensions of the project.  In addition to the core Yale EGC-ISSER survey, a variety of associated projects are under way.  The Yale EGC-ISSER long-term panel survey will serve as a baseline for the evaluation of the Millennium Challenge Corporation’s Ghana Program, and MCC is funding an additional survey of 9,300 households in two rounds over 6 years in its program districts in Ghana using a modified version of the Yale survey instruments to ease comparisons.  In addition, ISSER is managing a randomized evaluation of the MCC’s agricultural commercialization program, again based on a modified version of the EGC-ISSER survey instrument and methodology.  The Hunger Project is conducting a randomized evaluation of its scale-up throughout Ghana’s Eastern region.  The data for this evaluation is being generated by a survey of 4,000 households in THP program and control areas in two waves over a five year period, again based on the EGC-ISSER survey program.  We anticipate additional collaborative projects as the program of survey research continues.