Working Paper

Continuous and binary sets of responses are not the same: Evidence from the field


This paper conducts a pre-registered study aimed to compare binary and continuous set of responses in questionnaires. Binary responses consist of two possible opposed responses (Yes/No). Continuous are numerical, where respondents can indicate an answer in a 0 to 10 horizontal blind line. We study whether binary and continuous feasible sets of responses yield to the same outcome (distribution) and the same cost (duration in minutes). We collect data from 360 households in Honduras who were randomly assigned to Yes/No questions or given a slider (visual scaling 0-10) to mark their responses, therefore, we provide causal evidence. We find that respondents are 13% more likely to say \Yes» and spend 2.1 minutes less in the binary setting. Besides, we find that most of the differences between binary and continuous settings arise from questions which include negative wording.

Keywords: Binary, Continuous, survey design