An Econometric Method of Correcting for Unit Nonresponse Bias in Surveys
University of Maryland - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)
Johan A. Mistiaen
The World Bank
World Bank Policy Research Working Paper No. 3711
Past approaches to correcting for unit nonresponse in sample surveys by re-weighting the data assume that the problem is ignorable within arbitrary subgroups of the population. Theory and evidence suggest that this assumption is unlikely to hold, and that household characteristics such as income systematically affect survey compliance. We show that this leaves a bias in the re-weighted data and we propose a method of correcting for this bias. The geographic structure of nonresponse rates allows us to identify a micro compliance function, which is then used to re-weight the unit-record data. An example is given for the US Current Population Surveys, 1998 - 2004. We find, and correct for, a strong household income effect on response probabilities.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 39
Keywords: Sample surveys, selective unit nonresponse bias
JEL Classification: C42, D31, D63, I3working papers series
Date posted: September 21, 2005
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