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Attrition and Follow-Up Rules in Panel Surveys: Insights from a Tracking Experience in Madagascar

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  • Vaillant, Julia

Abstract

Most longitudinal surveys recontact households only if they are still living in the same dwelling, producing very high attrition rates, especially in developing countries where rural–urban migration is prevalent. In this paper, we discuss the implications of the various follow-up rules used in longitudinal surveys in the light of an original tracking survey from Madagascar. This survey attempted in 2005 to search and interview all individuals who were living in the village of Bepako in 1995, the baseline year of a yearly survey, the Rural Observatories. The tracking survey yielded an individual recontact rate of 78.8 percent, more than halving attrition compared to a standard dwelling-based follow-up rule. The tracking reveals a very high rate of out-migration (38.8 percent) and household break-ups, as three-quarters of recontacted households had divided between 1995 and 2005. The average income growth of the sample over the period increases by 28 percentage points when follow-up is extended to those who moved out of their household or village, suggesting that dwelling-based panels give a partial view of the welfare dynamics of the baseline sample. A higher baseline income per capita is associated with a higher probability of staying in Bepako and of being found in the tracking if one moved out. The hardest people to find are the poorest and most isolated. Special attention should be paid to collecting data that enable the identification and follow-up of individuals, without which attrition is likely to remain a source of bias even after a tracking procedure is carried out.

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Paper provided by Paris Dauphine University in its series Economics Papers from University Paris Dauphine with number 123456789/5443.

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Date of creation: 2013
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Publication status: Published in Review of Income and Wealth, 2013, Vol. 59, no. 3. pp. 509-538.Length: 29 pages
Handle: RePEc:dau:papers:123456789/5443

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Keywords: Mobilité; Enquêtes tracking; Données de panel; Mobility; Attrition; Tracking surveys; Panel data;

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  1. Duncan Thomas & Elizabeth Frankenberg & James P. Smith, 2004. "Lost but Not Forgotten: Attrition and Follow-up in the Indonesia Family Life Survey," Labor and Demography 0408007, EconWPA.
  2. John Fitzgerald & Peter Gottschalk & Robert Moffitt, 1997. "An Analysis of Sample Attrition in Panel Data: The Michigan Panel Study of Income Dynamics," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 394, Boston College Department of Economics.
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  8. Harold Alderman & Jere R. Behrman & Hans-Peter Kohler & John A. Maluccio & Susan Watkins, 2001. "Attrition in Longitudinal Household Survey Data," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 5(4), pages 79-124, November.
  9. Mark R. Rosenzweig, 2003. "Payoffs from Panels in Low-Income Countries: Economic Development and Economic Mobility," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(2), pages 112-117, May.
  10. Stefan Dercon & Pramila Krishnan, 2000. "Vulnerability, seasonality and poverty in Ethiopia," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 36(6), pages 25-53.
  11. de Vreyer, Philippe & Lambert, Sylvie & Safir, Abla & Ballé Sylla, Momar, 2008. "Pauvreté et Structure Familiale, pourquoi une nouvelle enquête ?," Economics Papers from University Paris Dauphine 123456789/10922, Paris Dauphine University.
  12. Maluccio, John A., 2000. "Attrition in the Kwazulu Natal income dynamics study, 1993-1998," FCND briefs 95, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  13. Becketti, Sean, et al, 1988. "The Panel Study of Income Dynamics after Fourteen Years: An Evaluatio n," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 6(4), pages 472-92, October.
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