Difficulty of Reaching Respondents and Nonresponse Bias: Evidence from Large Government Surveys

Ori Heffetz, Daniel B. Reeves

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations

Abstract

How high is unemployment? How low is labor force participation? Is obesity more prevalent among men? How large are household expenditures? We study the sources of the relevant official statistics-The Current Population Survey, the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, and the Consumer Expenditure Survey-And find that the answers depend on whether we look at easy-or at difficult-To-reach respondents, measured by the number of call and visit attempts made by interviewers. A challenge to the (conditionally-)random-nonresponse assumption, these findings empirically substantiate the theoretical warning against making population-wide estimates from surveys with low response rates.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)176-191
Number of pages16
JournalReview of Economics and Statistics
Volume101
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 The President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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