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Individual and Neighborhood Determinants of Survey Nonresponse: An Analysis Based on a New Subsample of the German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP), Microgeographic Characteristics and Survey-Based Interviewer Characteristics

Listed author(s):
  • Jörg-Peter Schräpler
  • Jürgen Schupp
  • Gert G. Wagner

This study examines the phenomenon of nonresponse in the first wave of a refresher sample (subsample H) of the German Socio-Economic Panel Study (SOEP). Our first step is to link additional (commercial) microgeographic data on the immediate neighborhoods of the households visited by interviewers. These additional data (paradata) provide valuable information on respondents and nonrespondents, including milieu or lifestyle, dominant household structure, desire for anonymity, frequency of moves, and other important microgeographic information. This linked information is then used to analyze nonresponse. In a second step, we also use demographic variables for the interviewer from an administrative data set about the interviewers, and, in a third step, we use the results of a special interviewer survey. We use multilevel statistical modeling to examine the influence of neighborhoods and interviewers on non-contacts, inability to participate, and refusals. In our analysis, we find our additional variables useful for understanding and explaining non-contacts and refusals and the inability of some respondents to participate in surveys. These data provide an important basis for filling the information gap on response and nonresponse in panel surveys (and in cross-sectional surveys). However, the effect sizes of these effects are negligible. Ignoring these effects does not cause significant biases in statistical inferences drawn from the survey under consideration.

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Paper provided by DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP) in its series SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research with number 288.

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Length: 45 p.
Date of creation: 2010
Handle: RePEc:diw:diwsop:diw_sp288
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  1. Jörg-Peter Schräpler, 2002. "Respondent Behavior in Panel Studies: A Case Study for Income-Nonresponse by Means of the German Socio-Economic Panel (GSOEP)," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 299, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  2. F. Kreuter & K. Olson & J. Wagner & T. Yan & T. M. Ezzati-Rice & C. Casas-Cordero & M. Lemay & A. Peytchev & R. M. Groves & T. E. Raghunathan, 2010. "Using proxy measures and other correlates of survey outcomes to adjust for non-response: examples from multiple surveys," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 173(2), pages 389-407.
  3. Gundi Knies & C. Katharina Spieß, 2007. "Regional Data in the German Socio-Economic Panel Study (SOEP)," Data Documentation 17, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  4. Peter Hintze & Tobia Lakes, 2009. "Geographically Referenced Data in Social Science: A Service Paper for SOEP Data Users," Data Documentation 46, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  5. Gert G. Wagner & Joachim R. Frick & Jürgen Schupp, 2007. "The German Socio-Economic Panel Study (SOEP) – Scope, Evolution and Enhancements," Schmollers Jahrbuch : Journal of Applied Social Science Studies / Zeitschrift für Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaften, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin, vol. 127(1), pages 139-169.
  6. Jörg-Peter Schräpler, 2006. "Explaining Income Nonresponse – A Case Study by means of the British Household Panel Study (BHPS)," Quality & Quantity: International Journal of Methodology, Springer, vol. 40(6), pages 1013-1036, December.
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