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Using matched substitutes to adjust for nonignorable nonresponse: an empirical investigation using labour market data


  • Richard Dorsett



This paper assesses the potential for reducing attrition bias by replacing survey dropouts with individuals from a refreshment sample, identified using propensity score matching. By linking administrative records with survey data, it is possible to observe outcomes for dropouts and therefore to test models of attrition. Doing so reveals the dropout process to be nonignorable such that the commonly-used method of reweighting non-dropouts is ineffective in overcoming attrition bias. By constructing artificial refreshment samples, the potential for replacing dropouts with individuals from a targeted refreshment sample is demonstrated. Where the targeting of the refreshment sample is imperfect, the success of the approach is more qualified. However, controlling for historic outcomes, the attrition bias can still be reduced.

Suggested Citation

  • Richard Dorsett, 2004. "Using matched substitutes to adjust for nonignorable nonresponse: an empirical investigation using labour market data," PSI Research Discussion Series 16, Policy Studies Institute, UK.
  • Handle: RePEc:psi:resdis:16

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    1. Keisuke Hirano & Guido W. Imbens & Geert Ridder & Donald B. Rubin, 2001. "Combining Panel Data Sets with Attrition and Refreshment Samples," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(6), pages 1645-1659, November.
    2. Dolton, Peter, 2003. "Reducing Attrition Bias using Targeted Refreshment Sampling and Matching," Royal Economic Society Annual Conference 2003 65, Royal Economic Society.
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