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Item Non-Response to Financial Questions in Household Surveys: An Experimental Study of Interviewer and Mode Effects

  • Lothar Essig
  • Joachim K. Winter

We analyse the determinants of non-response to questions on financial items such as income and asset holdings in household surveys. Our data come from a controlled field experiment. As part of the SAVE study - a representative survey conducted in Germany in 2001 - questions on household income and financial assets were administered using different modes (personal interview versus drop-off questionnaire). The data also allow us to investigate the influence of interviewer characteristics on non-response. Our results are in line with predictions derived from models of survey response behaviour that have been developed in survey research and social psychology.

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Article provided by Institute for Fiscal Studies in its journal Fiscal Studies.

Volume (Year): 30 (2009)
Issue (Month): Special Issue on Measuring Consumption and Saving (December)
Pages: 367-390

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Handle: RePEc:ifs:fistud:v:30:y:2009:i:3-4:p:367-390
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  1. Winter, Joachim, 0000. "Bracketing effects in categorized survey questions and the measurement of economic quantities," Sonderforschungsbereich 504 Publications 02-35, Sonderforschungsbereich 504, Universität Mannheim;Sonderforschungsbereich 504, University of Mannheim.
  2. Bound, John & Brown, Charles & Mathiowetz, Nancy, 2001. "Measurement error in survey data," Handbook of Econometrics, in: J.J. Heckman & E.E. Leamer (ed.), Handbook of Econometrics, edition 1, volume 5, chapter 59, pages 3705-3843 Elsevier.
  3. Joel L. Horowitz & Charles F. Manski, 1996. "Censoring of Outcomes and Regressors Due To Survey Nonresponse: Identification and Estimation Using Weights and Imputations," Econometrics 9602007, EconWPA, revised 06 Mar 1996.
  4. Riphahn, Regina T. & Serfling, Oliver, 2002. "Item Non-Response on Income and Wealth Questions," IZA Discussion Papers 573, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. Philipson, Tomas & Malani, Anup, 1999. "Measurement errors: A principal investigator-agent approach," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 91(2), pages 273-298, August.
  6. Philipson, Tomas, 1997. "Data Markets and the Production of Surveys," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 64(1), pages 47-72, January.
  7. Horowitz, Joel L & Manski, Charles F, 1995. "Identification and Robustness with Contaminated and Corrupted Data," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 63(2), pages 281-302, March.
  8. F. Thomas Juster & James P. Smith, 2004. "Improving the Quality of Economic Data: Lessons from the HRS and AHEAD," Labor and Demography 0402010, EconWPA.
  9. Axel Borsch-Supan & Lothar Essig, 2003. "Household Saving in Germany: Results of the first SAVE study," NBER Working Papers 9902, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Michael D. Hurd & Daniel McFadden & Harish Chand & Li Gan & Angela Menill & Michael Roberts, 1998. "Consumption and Savings Balances of the Elderly: Experimental Evidence on Survey Response Bias," NBER Chapters, in: Frontiers in the Economics of Aging, pages 353-392 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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