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Experiments with methods to reduce attrition in longitudinal surveys

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  • Laura Fumagalli
  • Heather Laurie
  • Peter Lynn

Abstract

We conduct two large-scale randomised experiments on the British Household Panel Survey (BHPS) to study methods of reducing panel attrition. The first experiment compares different strategies for tracing and maintaining contact with sample members. We find that change-of-address cards conditional on moving are most effective both in increasing response rates and in reducing fieldwork costs. The second experiment substitutes the standard between-wave Respondent Report with reports tailored for specific categories of respondents. We find that tailored reports have a positive though small effect on the number of young people completing a face-to-face interview and increase cooperation for busy people when telephone interviews are included.
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Suggested Citation

  • Laura Fumagalli & Heather Laurie & Peter Lynn, 2013. "Experiments with methods to reduce attrition in longitudinal surveys," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 176(2), pages 499-519, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:jorssa:v:176:y:2013:i:2:p:499-519
    DOI: j.1467-985X.2012.01051.x
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1111/j.1467-985X.2012.01051.x
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Jeffrey E. Zabel, 1998. "An Analysis of Attrition in the Panel Study of Income Dynamics and the Survey of Income and Program Participation with an Application to a Model of Labor Market Behavior," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 33(2), pages 479-506.
    2. Katharine G. Abraham & Aaron Maitland & Suzanne M. Bianchi, 2006. "Non-response in the American Time Use Survey: Who Is Missing from the Data and How Much Does It Matter?," NBER Technical Working Papers 0328, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. John Fitzgerald & Peter Gottschalk & Robert Moffitt, 1998. "An Analysis of Sample Attrition in Panel Data: The Michigan Panel Study of Income Dynamics," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 33(2), pages 251-299.
    4. Lynn, Peter & Clarke, Paul, 2001. "Separating refusal bias and non-contact bias: evidence from UK national surveys," ISER Working Paper Series 2001-24, Institute for Social and Economic Research.
    5. Jonathan Burton & Heather Laurie & Peter Lynn, 2006. "The long‐term effectiveness of refusal conversion procedures on longitudinal surveys," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 169(3), pages 459-478, July.
    6. Laurie, Heather & Lynn, Peter, 2008. "The use of respondent incentives on longitudinal surveys," ISER Working Paper Series 2008-42, Institute for Social and Economic Research.
    7. Uhrig, S.C. Noah, 2008. "The nature and causes of attrition in the British Household Panel Study," ISER Working Paper Series 2008-05, Institute for Social and Economic Research.
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    Cited by:

    1. Toomse, Mari, 2010. "Looking for a middle class bias: salary and co-operation in social surveys," ISER Working Paper Series 2010-03, Institute for Social and Economic Research.
    2. McGonagle Katherine A. & Schoeni Robert F. & Couper Mick P., 2013. "The Effects of a Between-Wave Incentive Experiment on Contact Update and Production Outcomes in a Panel Study," Journal of Official Statistics, Sciendo, vol. 29(2), pages 261-276, September.
    3. Lynn, Peter, 2013. "Targeted response inducement strategies on longitudinal surveys," Understanding Society Working Paper Series 2013-02, Understanding Society at the Institute for Social and Economic Research.
    4. Carine Burricand & Jean-Paul Lorgnet, 2014. "L’attrition dans l’enquête SRCV : déterminants et effets sur la mesure des variables monétaires," Économie et Statistique, Programme National Persée, vol. 469(1), pages 19-35.

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