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Propensity to consent to data linkage: experimental evidence from the Innovation Panel on the role of three survey design features


  • Sala, Emanuela
  • Knies, Gundi
  • Burton, Jonathan


When performing data linkage, survey respondents need to provide their informed consent. Since not all respondents agree to this request, the linked dataset will have fewer observations than the survey dataset alone and bias may be introduced. By focusing on the role that survey design features play in gaining respondents’ consent, this paper provides an innovative contribution to the studies in this field. Analysing experimental data collected in a nationally representative household panel survey of the British population, we find that interview features such as question format (dependent/independent questions) and placement of the consent question within the questionnaire have an impact on consent rates.

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  • Sala, Emanuela & Knies, Gundi & Burton, Jonathan, 2013. "Propensity to consent to data linkage: experimental evidence from the Innovation Panel on the role of three survey design features," Understanding Society Working Paper Series 2013-05, Understanding Society at the Institute for Social and Economic Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:ese:ukhlsp:2013-05

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Budd, Sarah & Gilbert, Emily & Burton, Jonathan & Jäckle, Annette & Kaminska, Olena & Uhrig, S.C. Noah & Brown, Matthew & Calderwood, Lisa, 2012. "Understanding Society Innovation Panel Wave 4: results from methodological experiments," Understanding Society Working Paper Series 2012-06, Understanding Society at the Institute for Social and Economic Research.
    2. Lynn, Peter & Jäckle, Annette & Jenkins, Stephen P. & Sala, Emanuela, 2004. "The effects of dependent interviewing on responses to questions on income sources," ISER Working Paper Series 2004-16, Institute for Social and Economic Research.
    3. Stephen P. Jenkins & Lorenzo Cappellari & Peter Lynn & Annette Jäckle & Emanuela Sala, 2006. "Patterns of consent: evidence from a general household survey," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 169(4), pages 701-722.
    4. Knies, Gundi & Sala, Emanuela & Burton, Jonathan, 2011. "Consenting to health record linkage: evidence from the British Household Panel Study," ISER Working Paper Series 2011-27, Institute for Social and Economic Research.
    5. Korbmacher, Julie M. & Schröder, Mathis, 2013. "Consent when Linking Survey Data with Administrative Records: The Role of the Interviewer," EconStor Open Access Articles, ZBW - German National Library of Economics, pages 115-131.
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    Cited by:

    1. Das Marcel & Couper Mick P., 2014. "Optimizing Opt-Out Consent for Record Linkage," Journal of Official Statistics, De Gruyter Open, vol. 30(3), pages 1-19, September.

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