Empirical Research on Householdsâ Saving and Retirement Security: First Steps towards an Innovative Triple‐Linked‐Dataset
There is an increasing interest among social scientists in merging survey data with administrative records from social security institutions. Record linkage represents one way to combine different sources using a unique identifier such as the Social Security number. The informed consent of the respondents however is required, which in turn might induce bias to the consent question and even threaten stability in a panel study. Data from the longitudinal household survey âSaving and old‐age Provision in Germanyâ (SAVE) are used for analysis of consent rates and patterns. In the latest wave of the study participants have been asked to provide their written consent to link their answers to administrative data from the Federal Employment Agency which also includes information on the respondentsâ employers. The combined data set will open new avenues for research on the link between institutions, saving behavior and old‐age provision: The survey data contains information on private pension and non‐pension wealth which will be complemented by complete employment histories. Moreover, from the administrative data entitlements to public pensions can be derived, while an employer survey will shed more light on the diffusion of occupational pensions. SAVE is mainly conducted as a self‐administered paper and pencil (P&P) questionnaire, while existing research is based on personal interviews. Given a response rate of 81% of the participants and a consent rate of 58%, asking for consent appears feasible in a P&P design. There is evidence for mild consent bias. However, considering correlations between giving the consent and a series of socio‐demographic variables, as well as variables capturing respondentsâ motivation and willingness can explain variation in the consent only to a small extent. We conclude that most of the variation is random.
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