IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/bep/mchbio/1034.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Does Weighting for Nonresponse Increase the Variance of Survey Means?

Author

Listed:
  • Rod Little

    (University of Michigan)

  • Sonya Vartivarian

    (University of Michigan)

Abstract

Nonresponse weighting is a common method for handling unit nonresponse in surveys. A widespread view is that the weighting method is aimed at reducing nonresponse bias, at the expense of an increase in variance. Hence, the efficacy of weighting adjustments becomes a bias-variance trade-off. This note suggests that this view is an oversimplification -- nonresponse weighting can in fact lead to a reduction in variance as well as bias. A covariate for a weighting adjustment must have two characteristics to reduce nonresponse bias - it needs to be related to the probability of response, and it needs to be related to the survey outcome. If the latter is true, then weighting can reduce, not increase, sampling variance. A detailed analysis of bias and variance is provided in the setting of weighting for an estimate of a survey mean based on adjustment cells. The analysis suggests that the most important feature of variables for inclusion in weighting adjustments is that they are predictive of survey outcomes; prediction of the propensity to respond is a secondary, though useful, goal. Empirical estimates of root mean squared error for assessing when weighting is effective are proposed and evaluated in a simulation study.

Suggested Citation

  • Rod Little & Sonya Vartivarian, 2004. "Does Weighting for Nonresponse Increase the Variance of Survey Means?," The University of Michigan Department of Biostatistics Working Paper Series 1034, Berkeley Electronic Press.
  • Handle: RePEc:bep:mchbio:1034
    Note: oai:bepress.com:umichbiostat-1034
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.bepress.com/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1034&context=umichbiostat
    Download Restriction: no

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Heinemann, Friedrich & Janeba, Eckhard & Moessinger, Marc-Daniel & Schröder, Christoph, 2013. "Revenue Autonomy Preference in German State Parliaments," Annual Conference 2013 (Duesseldorf): Competition Policy and Regulation in a Global Economic Order 79736, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:bep:mchbio:1034. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Christopher F. Baum). General contact details of provider: http://www.bepress.com .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.